The United States Supreme Court ruled today that the police must obtain a search warrant before looking through your cell phone. With continual intrusion in a person’s privacy this is a good step in the right direction of the Fourth Amendment. Although apparently conflicted, the Supreme Court stated that a person’s cell phone today carries extensively private information on their cell phone, including documents, photos, and videos. Because of the massive amounts of data carried on a person’s cell phone, the police should be required to get a warrant before being able to search the phone.
The Supreme Court did contemplate the possibility of remote wiping and how that might effect the need for an exigency search. However, the Supreme Court ultimately decided that the possibility of remote wiping inherently is not enough to forgo the warrant requirements.
Even though the United States Supreme Court ruled for the protection of the Fourth Amendment, the practical matter requires that a person exercise their right to privacy. What that means is when stopped by police or when being questioned, it is imperative that a person not consent to the search of their cell phone. If a person gives an officer the consent to search a cell phone the officer does not need to get a warrant. Although it can be hard to resist an officer’s strongly suggestive request for consent, do not give up your rights. Make them get a warrant.