Federal Courts are Worried Your Smart Phone is a Bomb

By Adam Ramirez on March 30, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Ah, smartphones. We know many of you are so addicted to them that if you dropped them in a toilet you'd fish them out.

But federal courthouses around the country are less keen on the do-everything phone-computer combo.

Many federal jurisdictions don't allow the devices into courthouses because of fears that could be used as weapons by terrorists.

That's right, a memo issued last week by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts outlines the potential dangers of a terroristic smart phone, Wired's Threat Level blog reports.

"These common devices present security issues because some can be and have been converted for use as weapons, including explosives," the report says.

The report explains other dangers: Smart phones can be used to secretly record or transmit videos of court proceedings, and they can be used by jurors to research case details on the Internet.

Courthouses vary in their policies, according to Wired. In San Francisco, for example, Wi-Fi connections allow access to the Internet in courtrooms, and live blogging and tweeting is common there.

Reasons above and beyond terrorism to restrict the devices from courthouses include the secret filming, recording or transmitting of court proceedings; the disruption of court proceedings; and that deliberating jurors might access the internet and research the case, the report said.

Which means more and more attorneys heading to federal court may have to surrender their smart phones at the security checkpoint.

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