Court: Warrant needed to search cellphones

The decision means police can keep a phone

CHICOPEE, Mass. (NBC News/WWLP) – The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Wednesday that police officers must first get a search warrant before searching your cell phone.

The Justices ruled that smartphones have so much information on them, they are different than everything else we carry and that police cannot look through a smartphone’s call records, contacts, emails, texts or photos.

Barbara Nutbrown, who is for the law, said, “If they’re suspected of a crime, you still have to go through due process, and there still a person and you want to protect their privacy.”

Amanda Savage, who is against the law, said, “It’s so easy now to delete information quickly. It seems as though it would important for them to get the information right then and there.”

The decision means police can keep a phone, turn it off and shield it from remote erasure, but they need a warrant to look at the content.

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Below is a statement from Mass. State Police Colonel Timothy P. Alben regarding the U.S. Supreme Court decision requiring that police obtain warrants for cell phone searches:
“We appreciate and support citizens’ rights to privacy and respect today’s Supreme Court ruling on cell phone searches. Cell phones and mobile devices factor in many of our investigations, and in many cases we already have been obtaining court warrants to access data stored in them. Doing so, frankly, is in the best interest of justice. We will comply with the decision handed down today in all our investigative interactions with citizens with mobile devices.”

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