Welcome to EFF’s “Criminal Defender Toolkit,” a resource for criminal defense attorneys looking to challenge law enforcement's use of digital surveillance tools and other technologies against their clients. We've put together a series of one-pagers, slide presentations, and lists of resources for challenging the use of Automated License Plate Readers (ALPR), Cell-Site Location Information (CSLI), Cell-Site Simulators (CSS), and Digital Device Searches (DDS). We are in the process of reviewing and improving the design and utility of these resources based on user testing and feedback. Please send us your feedback via our contact portal.
Who This Is For
We’ve built this project to help criminal defense attorneys get what they need.
For the criminal defense attorney up against a short deadline looking to quickly learn about digital devices searches, we’ve written and published handouts with relevant information about the technologies, and tips on how to think about and challenge potential misuse of those technologies in court. These guides can be found at the top of both the "What Is It" and the "Resources" sections.
For the criminal defense attorney looking for visual aids for educating and training others about the technology—whether it be other defense attorneys, judges, or jurors—we’ve provided slideshow presentations in Powerpoint format. These presentations, along with the handouts, can be found at the top of both the "What Is It" and the "Resources" sections
For the criminal defense attorney with time to learn more about the technology and some litigation nuances, we have prepared detailed guides about how digital device search work, what the technology looks like, what the cops know, and what key terms to look for and understand. These guides are published in our "What Is It," "How Does it Work," "What Do the Cops Know," and "How to Challenge" sections.
For the criminal defense attorney who just wants a list of relevant cases, we've created a case inventory that can be found in the "Cases" section.
And for the criminal defense attorney who wants to dive deep into the resources, we’ve provided academic, legal, and technical articles, training videos, and law enforcement manuals, along with years of EFF briefs pertaining to a variety of digital devices. These can be found on the "Resources" page.
Remember, these tools and resources should serve as a guide. EFF cannot guarantee that the tips we provide are ever surefire methods for obtaining the legal result you want. The case law is still evolving on many of these technologies. The Criminal Defender Toolkit is a hub of the resources we've developed thus far on some of the technologies deployed by law enforcement in the pursuit of criminal prosecutions. We hope that these resources will serve as useful tools in defending your clients’ digital rights, and we would love to hear about success stories using these tools.
If you see a case missing or a case that needs to be updated, please flag it for us by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you are looking for amicus support in your own case, please contact us here with your name, a short description of the case and issue you would like our help with, along with the case name, case cite or court number, jurisdiction, and filing deadline.