SCOTUS to consider legality of warrantless phone searches

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Is there any data from our daily lives that our smartphones don’t have access to? From schedules to correspondence, financial records to private health data, our phones store just about every last tidbit of our lives. That’s why smartphone security is such a hot-button issue, since no one wants all their data falling into the wrong hands. In the United States, law enforcement officers have been taking advantage of all the data accessible through our phones, combing-through the handsets of suspects placed under arrest without first obtaining warrants. Now the Supreme Court is getting itself in position to finally rule on whether or not such searches are legally justifiable.

It’s a case of the reality changing faster than the law can keep up; twenty years ago, all this data might be kept at home, either as hard copies or files tucked away on a desktop’s hard drive. And in either of those cases, any cop who’s been paying attention knows he or she needs a warrant before driving to your home and attempting to seize any of that. With our phones evolving from simple communication devices to the portable computers they are today, it hasn’t been so clear just when warrants are required to access them.

How this plays out stands to have a big impact on smartphones going forward; if the Court confirms that warrantless searches of them are fair game, will we see an influx of devices like that new Blackphone?

Source: Reuters (Yahoo!)

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bitsRead more about Stephen Schenck!