Arrested In NYC? Cops Will Start Building Additional Cases From Your Cellphone IMEI.

Posted Oct 8, 2009

The NYPD is starting a new program where they will take the IMEI number from your cellphone if you have been arrested of a crime and monitor your calls for suspicious activity. For example, if you get caught dealing drugs then odds are that you have been calling around some potential customers and other drug dealers on your phone. The NYPD could use the IMEI number to figure out who all the other suspects are of the related crime.

“It doesn’t replace the human element, like debriefing prisoners, but it’s another tool to use that we didn’t have in the past,” stated a source that was interviewed by The NY Daily News. An internal memo at the NYPD states that when making an arrest, it is recommended to remove the suspect’s mobile phone battery and then write down the IMEI number.

However there is a limitation to this idea. Some mobile phones are laced with fake numbers. And in some cases, mobile phones made in China that are sold in India all have the same IMEI number according to the Daily.

The New York Civil Liberties Union associate legal director Christopher Dunn believes that this is a violation of privacy. The Union said that the NYPD is “taking phones apart to get information” without having a warrant.

The IMEI database complements another database that the NYPD has going for about 20 million 911 callers. What are your thoughts? Do you believe that this is an essential initiative for security? Or do you believe this is a violation of privacy?