The public policy concerning the cell phone is in line with the Fourth Amendment that will protect personal property against unnecessary seizures and searches. Past Supreme Court precedents provide that police do not need a warrant to search suspects they arrest this includes containers, bags, and other items that they carry. The law permits a warrantless search in the vicinity of the arrest site. The exception to this law will assist the officers to prevent the destruction of evidence or any weapons concealed. Cell phones contain very confidential information such as GPS location data.
In the judicial precedent of Riley v California in 2009, the police arrested Riley after the police conducted a search in his vehicle and found firearms in it (Root, 2014). The Supreme Court in this particular case provided that people should be secure in their personal effects from unreasonable searches that include digital devices such as cell phones to communicate with people. The rule is not limited to the information stored such as pictures and contacts it covers the remote information that one can access in cloud computing networks. The ruling has different interpretations concerning the establishment of the right to an electronic privacy. Currently, the courts permit the law enforcement to seize cell phones along with other personal effects on the grounds the search will protect the officers and prevent the destruction of possible exhibits to solve criminal cases. In the issue of Riley, San Diego officers seized the cell phone and found pictures of gang shooting linking Riley to criminal activities.
Recently, Chief Justice Roberts declares that cell phones have become a vital tool for the criminal enterprises to coordinate and communicate and for this reason the digital devices can provide volumes of information on crime plans. According to Roberts, it is important for the officers to have a warrant for the search once the phone has seizure in the incidence of arrest. The information on a cell phone is not immune to search since privacy will come at a cost. Other judges such as Anthony Kennedy, Thomas, and Antonin concur with the ruling of Robert. More than 90 percent of Adults in America own a cell phone that enables them maintains a digital profile of their life (Lind, 2014). Robert claims that the search of the phone will reveal the intimate details of an individual such as friends and behavior patterns. The search for homes warrant arrest and the search for the cell phones must follow suit.
Some of the writs of assistance provided in the Fourth Amendment permit the British officers to fumble homes in an unwarranted search to verify criminal activity. The modern cell phones are not a tool of technological convenience since it contains many details for people’s private life. Technology allows individuals to carry that information everywhere, and this does not provide protection that the founders had envisioned. In this light, Robert and others signed the ruling that it is illegal for the officers to search cell phone without a warrant.
According to the ruling, it was not reasonable for the law enforcement to search cell phone just because they have seized it. The court decided that officers should not have unrestricted access to digital data. The government through the Supreme Court will enforce the ruling where it is a prerequisite for the cops to have a warrant to search the cell phones. The ruling will protect individuals from the limit of the search since cell phones contain much sensitive information. The court considers that smartphones such as Samsung Galaxy S4 and iPhone5 comes with a 16 gigabyte of storage space to enable the storage of thousands of videos, pictures, and messages (Root, 2014).
Cassidy, J. (n.d.). The Supreme Court Gets It Right on Cell-Phone Privacy. The New Yorker. Retrieved June 27, 2014, from http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2014/06/scotus-on-right-side-of-privacy-debate.html
Lind, D. (n.d.). The Supreme Court's huge new cellphone privacy ruling, explained. Vox. Retrieved June 28, 2014, from http://www.vox.com/2014/6/25/5841936/supreme-court-cell-phone-privacy-wurie-riley-roberts-decision-nsa
Root, D. (n.d.). Supreme Court To Rule on Cell Phone Privacy. Reason.com. Retrieved June 28, 2014, from http://reason.com/archives/2014/03/15/supreme-court-to-rule-on-cell-phone-priv