A Huge Victory for Human Rights in America
A unanimous Supreme Court ruling today gives a victory to privacy advocates by limiting police ability to search cell phones of criminal suspects upon arrest and without a warrant.
In a Protected content , the justices said smart phones and other electronic devices were not in the same category as wallets, briefcases, and vehicles -- all currently subject to limited initial examination by law enforcement. Generally such searches are permitted if there is "probable cause" a crime has been committed, ensuring an officer's safety, or preventing the destruction of evidence.
Criminal suspects in Massachusetts and California were separately convicted, in part, after phone numbers, text messages, photos and addresses obtained from personal electronic devices linked them to drug and gang activity.
The search cases gave the high court a timely opportunity to re-enter the public debate over the limits of Americans' privacy rights, with a focus on the ubiquitous cell phone and its vast storage of information and video.