Court Upholds Warrantless Searching Of Cell Phones
You cell phone says a lot of things and it says them all about you. This is great as long as the FBI isn’t the one doing the listening.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit has ruled that it is legal for police to search your cell phone without a warrant. This means they can look at all your contacts, photos, texts, recent incoming and outgoing call and whatever else you have on the phone.
The case stems from an Indiana case where a man was arrested for dealing drugs. During the arrest an office searched his phone for more information. The court ruled the search was constitutional because the information was in danger of being destroyed.
Paul Coggins is the former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. Coggins says the court’s ruling pushes the envelope on privacy issues and wonders if it opens the door to more extensive searches down the road. “Does that mean officers now have the right to search through your phone, search through your search history, your photographs, your e-mails and the rest, because it could all be wiped clean,” Coggins asked.
Many critics are asking the same question. They call the ruling an invasion of privacy that far outweighs the needs of law enforcement.
This case seems certain to be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.