California bill could require warrant for cell phone searches

More and more of our personal and professional lives are found in our smartphones and other portable electronic devices. Things like emails, text messages, photos, videos, apps, web site histories and more gives lots of information about the owner of such products. But what if you suddenly got arrested? Could law enforcement authorities just search what's inside your cell phone on a whim? In California, that kind of situation could soon be regulated if a proposed state bill becomes law.

CNN reports that California's state assembly has already passed the bill which would require law enforcement organizations to obtain a warrant to search the contents of any portable electronic devices, including cell phones, of a person who has been arrested. The bill is now in the hands of California's Governor Jerry Brown who needs to sign the bill for it to become law by October 9. The bill doesn't just cover cell phones but also devices like laptops, tablets, eReaders, media players, portable game consoles. flash drives, and more. The Peace Officers Research Association of California is opposed to the bill becoming law, claiming that it would restrict their ability to fight crime.

This issue has come up in other US states. A court decision in Ohio barred police from searching portable electronic products without a warrant but other court decisions in Florida and Georgia have actually allowed warrantless cell phone searches. Hanni Fakhoury, the staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, believes that this issue will find its way eventually to the US Supreme Court, saying, "None of the cases involved relied solely on state law. They all raised constitutional issues. There would be no reason for the Supreme Court not to get involved."

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12 Comments

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I have the connect the dots password/lock on. Have fun trying to access it. Also my security program allows me to send a text to the phone and it formats the SD card and internal memory.

you have to have a warrant to take a computer as you should a phone... a phone in todays world is a personal computer its not like we use bricks.... also illegal to read peoples mail and emails.... a text should be in the same place.

Meah that's cool. So instead of searching they just take you device and trash it. ha-ha

So you still loose. Muhahahahahahahah

A police's job is simple. Protect and Serve!

Here is their interpretation.

You got served you loser citizen.

Protect myself, which means confiscate cell phones and cameras that catch me not doing my job.

A "home" is a physical place of living that contains personal physical possessions and physical information. By the the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution, a search warrant is required.

Likewise, a "digital mobile device" contains a digital state of living that contains personal digital possessions and digital information. By the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution, a search warrant should also be required.

If u are a criminal with an iPhone and iOS 5, just backup ur stuff to the iCloud and erase ur content right before you get arrested.