Data on your phone is now safe(r): a warrant is now required to search your phone (usually)

by John Roberts on June 25, 2014

Today the U.S. Supreme Court actually ruled in favor of an individual’s privacy over government snooping (see opinion, linked-to below). The rule in California had been that police could search a person’s phone without a warrant whenever they were arrested for any reason, unless the data on the phone was encrypted. The Supreme Court today announced what should have been obvious to most reasonable people–California’s practice is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. Now, in order to search one’s phone incident to arrest, a search warrant must be obtained, unless there are “exigent circumstances” in a particular situation. Accordingly, while this ruling is certainly a good thing for privacy interests, one should still encrypt and password protect their phone to protect their privacy as well as any confidential intellectual property that one might have on their phone.

John Roberts



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