Proposed Law Would Let Police Use 'Textalyzer' at Accidents to See If Driver was Texting


New York lawmakers are considering legislation that would let police use a "textalyzer" device at accident scenes to immediately determine if drivers were texting. A man named Ben Lieberman, whose 19-year-son died in a New York highway accident in 2011, has partnered with tech company Cellebrite on developing the plug-in device dubbed the "textalyzer," which can immediately see if someone was tapping, swiping or clicking on their phone. Lieberman is doing this after it took filing a lawsuit for him to be able to get the cellphone records of the driver of the car his son had been in, and find out that he'd been texting.  He hopes that if the legislation passes, it will be a deterrent and help law enforcement track how much of a problem texting while driving really is. Constitutional and privacy advocates are opposed, noting that police need consent and a warrant to get cellphone records. They're also concerned that the technology could be used to access personal information from phones. But Cellebrite says the textalyzer is designed to only determine a phone's usage, and wouldn't be able to access data. The measure being considered wouldn't make it illegal for someone to refuse to have their phone checked, but they could get their license suspended. 

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