Supreme Court Decision on Cellphone Searches Huge Win for Privacy

By Ron Wyden Jun 25, 2014, 11:56 AM 

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., issued the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that law enforcement must obtain a warrant in most cases to search an arrested person’s cellphone.

“Today’s decision is a huge win for individual privacy. In a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court acknowledged that searching a person’s cellphone is actually more invasive in many cases than going through their home.

At a time when the details of a person’s whole life can be in their pocket, the Supreme Court sent a clear message that Fourth Amendment rights still apply in the digital era. As Chief Justice Roberts wrote, if the police need to search a person’s cellphone, they still can, but they should come back with a warrant. That is just common sense, and I wholly agree.

The next step, in my view, is to treat GPS information the same way. Our bipartisan GPS Act provides law enforcement with a clear mandate for when to obtain a warrant for the geolocation information of an American, and I aim to use this decision as a springboard to secure greater privacy rights in the days ahead.”

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