Supreme Court Rules – Your Cell Phone Is Safe From Random Police Searches
A very important ruling came down from the Supreme Court today, and it involves your right to keep your cell phone secure from searching by the police. This important decision protects our privacy and requires police to get a warrant before they can search your phone. An interest thing about this decision is that all of the Supreme Court Justices agreed on it. Agreement among this usually divided group is rare these days.
Cell Phone Privacy
Over the past few years, police have been taking cellphones from suspects and searching them without a warrant. Warrantless searches of smart phones have provided information that has lead to convictions. The problem is, under the old policy, if a police officer arrested someone for jay walking, he could arguably have searched the that person’s phone. These days, cell phones have an incredible about of personal information, from emails to texts to financial information. The Supreme Court felt that the ability to search cell phones without warrants simply went too far in terms of violating a person’s privacy. As a result, police must now have a warrant to search a phone, barring an emergency.
What the Supreme Court’s Cell Phone Decision Means for You
While police would no doubt prefer to be able to search a phone without requiring a warrant, they will no longer be able to do so. This means, if you are arrested and a police officer asks to search your phone you may simply say no. Unless and until the officer obtains a warrant, he will not have the right to search your phone. Understand, this does not mean you can prevent the officer from taking your phone during an arrest, it just means he cannot search it. Remember, there will be cases where an emergency might allow the search of your smart phone without a warrant. What is an emergency? Locating a missing child or stopping a terrorist plot would be two examples.
Secure Your Phone
Keep in mind, the best way to secure your phone in the first place is to use a password for it. All smart phones have security option.