(4 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)
The US Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that the police need a warrant to search the contents of cellphones seized from people they have arrested.
The opinion of the court, delivered by chief justice John Roberts, recognised that many owners of modern cellphones “keep on their person a digital record of nearly every aspect of their lives”, which may disclose a uniquely large volume of personal information if searched.
“Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience,” Roberts wrote. “With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans the privacies of life.
Reading his ruling from the bench, Roberts went on: “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 founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple – get a warrant.”
As with the court’s ruling earlier this year limiting the use of GPS tracking by police, this is quite a victory for privacy in the modern age an the Fourth Amendment.