Making phone calls is perhaps the least significant thing that phones can do nowadays.
My iPhone is a camera and a correspondence file, going back for years. It’s a digital recorder that has interviews with the mayor and assorted politicos on it, plus photos of my children and other personal data.
I wouldn’t want a cop, pulling me over for a balky taillight, to be able to search it willy-nilly on a fishing expedition, looking for illegality, the same way he can glance into the back seat.
The law was murky on this, and on Wednesday, in a major victory for our endangered privacy, United States Supreme Court ruled that police need a warrant if they want to search your cellphone.
“Modern cellphones are not just another technological convenience,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the court.
“With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans ‘the privacies of life’… 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.”
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