CRF Blog

The Supreme Court’s huge new cellphone privacy ruling, explained

by Bill Hayes

Vox explains The Supreme Court’s huge new cellphone privacy ruling by answering 11 questions about the case.

1. What was [the] Supreme Court decision about cellphones?

[T]he Supreme Court ruled that it’s illegal for cops to search a suspect’s cellphone without a warrant. In the words of Jim Harper of the libertarian Cato Institute, “It’s not reasonable for law enforcement to search a phone just because they seized it. Simple.”

The opinion was written by Chief Justice John Roberts, with all nine members of the court signing on. It’s the result of two cases — a federal drug and gun case from Massachusetts, and a state gun case from California — where the defendants were charged and convicted based on evidence cops found while searching their phones. [more]