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Government Surveillance

Supreme Court Should Stop Warrantless Searches of Cell Phones

Today, the Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases, United States v. Wurie and Riley v. California, that tackle warrantless searches of cell phones by law enforcement. The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT), along with EFF, filed an amicus brief last month highlighting the range of private information typically stored on phones and other portable electronic devices, and argued that the warrantless search of such devices was overly invasive and unnecessary. CDT issued the following statement after the arguments:

“Our cell phones can contain more personal information than we carry in our briefcases, store in file cabinets or even have on personal computers. These are our personal papers and effects and should be fully protected under the Fourth Amendment. It’s critical that private conversations, photos, and documents are protected from warrantless search whether they’re stored inside your house or carried in your pocket,” said Jake Laperruque, CDT Fellow on Privacy, Surveillance and Security.

“While questions have been raised about the potential for information on the cell phone to be lost, we believe there are simple technological solutions that can address these concerns without violating our privacy,” Laperruque added.