The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously today that police cannot search one’s cell phone without a warrant. This is a good decision that puts at least some brake on the invasion of privacy by the government.
“Modern cellphones are not just another technological convenience,” said Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. “With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans ‘the privacies of life.’ ”
These tiny devices “could just as easily be called cameras, video players, Rolodexes, calendars, tape recorders, libraries, diaries, albums, televisions, maps or newspapers,” he said.
For that reason, the chief justice said the court would not allow police officers who make an arrest to routinely seize and inspect the suspect’s cellphone or smartphone.
This is a very good decision, somewhat surprising in its unanimity given that many of the justices have in the past leaned over backwards to provide police with extra powers.