Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Supreme Court supports need for search warrant to search cell phone contents; a cell phone is like a computer, or a closet

Privacy advocates are pleased with a Supreme Court ruling that police need a search warrant to seize and search your phone, just as it would your computer.  Because, as Matthew Yglesias wrote today in Vox, your iPhone (or Droid or whatever) is essentially a computer.  It’s not just a phone. It’s more.  It’s like, well, your attic, or extra space storage.  The Vox piece is here. The slip opinion for Riley v. California is here.  It isn’t much of a stretch to imagine that the same logic could apply to NSA snooping, much of which is already admittedly illegal and which has the attention of Congress.
The Court said that a smart phone is a lot more than a wallet or briefcase. 
I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to imagine how a record of your Internet searches and accesses, even though themselves legal, set up a pattern which can easily lead police on fishing expeditions and which could prove incriminating, even leading to someone’s being framed.  

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