Cell Phone Searches Require a Warrant

Protecting Your Freedom

Do we have privacy rights again? It looks like we do in this great ruling for private citizens everywhere.

On June 25, 2014, the United States Supreme Court released an opinion in the case involving Riley v. California wherein the Supremes said law enforcement had to have a search warrant in order to search a mobile or cell phone.

My first thought after seeing so many of the decisions lately was that the courts would once again give law enforcement a pass to do whatever they want in the name of law and order and the Constitution be damned. But I was wrong thankfully.

What does this really mean though? The cops can still attempt to get a valid warrant to go through your phone. So your phone date is not 100% exempt from the prying eyes of the police. The next thing we are going to see is the officer's claims of exigent circumstances to allow them to search a phone. That is something we are going to see on a case by case basis to see what the police are trying to pull and what the courts will allow them to get away with.

As discussed in a previous blog on the change in the way an officer can now get a search warrant electronically, you might see an increase in warrants to search phones. We will just have to wait in see what happens.

Also, remember that your date on your phone may be stored somewhere on another computer owned by your cell phone provider or other company. The cops may still go after that date with subpoena powers or by search warrant. As long as that little private video you have on your phone inst backed up on another server, you may be able to keep it private.

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