Android security

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled unanimously that police must have a warrant to search the content inside a cell phone of a person who has been arrested.

The decision is the result of two cases that were brought to the Supreme Court, Riley v. California and U.S. v. Wurie, both of which involved police who searched the content of cell phones of people who had been arrested but without asking for a warrant beforehand.

However, in a decision written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the nine members of the Supreme Court all agreed that "police generally may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested."

The court did state there will be a few exceptions to this rule, such as cases that involve kidnappings and bomb threats that generate what the judges consider to be "exigent circumstances". However, today's decision finally does offer solid guidance on what the police can and cannot do when they arrest people with cell phones.

What do you think about this new court ruling and do you support the fact that police will now need to get a warrant before they can search inside the contents of a cell phone?

Source: U.S. Supreme Court


Reader comments

Supreme court rules police need a warrant to search cell phones


A step in the right direction but certain agencies will always find a way around the rules or laws. NSA need I say more.

From the Death Star using my LG G2

In general I think the government and the current administration regulate and intrude into our personal lives too much. That being said I think it's a mistake by the court. Cell phones should be treated differently. The data on a cell phone can be readily destroyed or altered remotely in the time it takes to obtain the search warrant. I would prefer to see evidence that could prove or disprove a crime be preserved at the expense of a possible loss of my privacy as it relates to my cell phone. Just my $0.02.

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So you wouldn't mind if you were stopped for speeding and the officer wanted your cell phone just for the hell of it.

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That's not what this case dealt with. In many states, for years, officers have been allowed to search a person incident to an arrest of a crime. This matter doesn't apply to the scenario proposed. Search incident to arrest can be for evidence related to the crime, for means of escape, or weapons. The last two aren't likely to be found in cell phones, so even before this ruling, what could be done was limited. Hopefully, a balance between preserving evidence and personal privacy can be obtained. I wonder if it would be easy enough to teach officers to pull the battery and whether that might preserve evidence until a warrant can be obtained.

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If an officer wants to be a dick, he will be a dick and will get away with it. They win all confrontations. Ever tried arguing with one?

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To answer your question yes I would mind but that's not the same situation as the matter at hand.

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Though, I am sure our current ruling regime appreciates your gullibility,.. no, thanks... They can keep their grubby, fascist, oppressive hands off of my phone. The next step that should be done is to somehow reign in the unconstitutional actions by the NSA.

Up until someone you love is killed then you will be demanding to know why more wasn't done. The case discussed has nothing to do with the police just taking your phone. The case discussed has to do with searching your phone after you were arrested. Currently the police are allowed to search whatever physical items you have on your person at the time of your arrest anyway. This case was dealing with the event of the police looking through your phone once you were arrested.
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Kind of hard to delete info on your phone when you are in handcuffs. Plus I'm sure they would be watching you.

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That makes no sense. In the time it takes to get a search warrant a person can easily flush drugs or other contraband down the toilet as well. Weak tea.

That's why they get the warrant first. They don't let you know they are coming.

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Every "paper and effect" that can be found in my home can also be found on my phone. Please explain to me how you think the fourth amendment doesn't cover that. This is a constitutional question. There is no wiggle room.

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A Simple solution to remote wiping is any Cell Phones taken into custody be placed in a faraday cage.

What bothers me is the
"exigent circumstances" part. It wouldn't be the first time that an agency asked a judge for search warrants based on false assumptions. That's if they ask at all. Seems everyday you hear a story about some swat team doing a "no knock" search on somebody's home. Kind of scary. What do you do if it's your place? Kinda hard to ask to see a warrant with a storm of armed swat officers yelling for you to get down and don't move. Why does every government agency now need swat teams, assault type vehicles, and millions of rounds of ammo?

From the Death Star using my LG G2

The "exigent circumstances" part already exists for other crimes and warrants, it's why the police are able to arrest somebody without a warrant if they are actively in pursuit of someone (drunk drivers, for instance) or if there is reason to suspect that a crime is actively taking place.

Great news, but the police are known to abuse probable cause searches, so I'm sure some citizens will still feel forced to give an officer access regardless.

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Gonna start selling Faraday cages to the cops so they can make sure my phone doesn't get a remote wipe when I call for bail.

I was wondering if police could use those to prevent remote wiping. Overall so much info is on the phone now it makes sense to require a search warrant. Just using a password would at least slow things down.

Apparently it was an important enough topic that there was an amendment to the Constitution because of it.

The 4th amendment protects us from illegal searches and seizures.

Posted via Android Central App using an LG G2.