SCOTUS Says Police Need A Warrant To Search Your Cell Phone

June 26, 2014  |  

In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court has said that, in most cases, the police need a search warrant if they want to take a closer look at your mobile device. The decision rested largely on the ubiquitous nature of cell phones these days; everyone has one, and our reliance on them and the info they provide is worthy of privacy consideration. Moreover, they contain more than just phone numbers and a log of conversations. The content on a person’s mobile phone nowadays is very personal.

“The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the (country’s) Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cellphone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple – get a warrant,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the decision.

The High Court acknowledged that the decision could put a monkey wrench in some law enforcement efforts. Still, a poll conducted by Reuters and Ipsos found that 60.7 percent of people agree with the decision. And there were plenty of privacy advocates who were also happy to hear the news.

On the other hand, some in law enforcement lamented that it will make their jobs more difficult as technology increasingly becomes part of the criminal enterprise. Still various departments of justice have promised to adhere to the ruling.

“Privacy comes as a cost,” Justice Roberts continued.

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