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Supreme Court Rules Cell Phones Can't Be Searched Without a Warrant

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the sanity-outbreak dept.

The Courts 249

New submitter CarlThansk (3713681) writes The courts have long debated on if cell phones can be searched during an arrest without a warrant. Today, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the police need warrants to search the cellphones of people they arrest. "Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the court, said the vast amount of data contained on modern cellphones must be protected (PDF) from routine inspection." Phones may still be searched under limited circumstances (imminent threats), but this looks like a clear win for privacy. Quoting the decision: "We cannot deny that our decision today will have an impact on the ability of law enforcement to combat crime. Cell phones have become important tools in facilitating coordination and communication among members of criminal enterprises, and can provide valuable incriminating information about dangerous criminals. Privacy comes at a cost."

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Not in USA (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47316609)

Now if you can tell the NSA to stay the hell out of everyone elses phones, that would be great. Thanks.

Re:Not in USA (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 5 months ago | (#47316683)

Technically this applies to the NSA on American phones. If the NSA will listen to it or not, or if you can prove they did not obey it or not, is a completely different question all together.

Re:Not in USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47316911)

Does anything seem to apply to the NSA?

Re:Not in USA (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 5 months ago | (#47317265)

You'll also have to prove that the NSA actually searched your phone.

Re:Not in USA (4, Informative)

Ziggitz (2637281) | about 5 months ago | (#47317011)

From the looks of it it seems that this ruling only applies to the data stored on phones, not information passing over the network. This doesn't apply to the mass surveillance of communications and it doesn't mean that the FISA courts aren't going to blanket approve every single warrant like they have been for the past several years. All this really means is the police can't search your phone when they arrest you or during a stop to gather evidence against without first getting a warrant. While this is definitely a step in the right direction it isn't nearly as wide reaching as you would think.

Not interested in crime (2)

jbolden (176878) | about 5 months ago | (#47317135)

The NSA isn't trying to convict in a court of law. What's admissible matters less to them.

Re:Not interested in crime (1)

TheCarp (96830) | about 5 months ago | (#47317459)

True, but only half the story. More true is to say that surveillance activities are already beyond the review of courts by the loophole known as parallel construction.

Quite simply it doesn't matter to them, because they will never even admit that is where it came from, they will simply use what they now know to set up a fiction that can be supplied to the court. Kind of like a manufactured alibi except in reverse.

FP (-1, Troll)

Shortguy881 (2883333) | about 5 months ago | (#47316613)

Holy Crap I dont believe it

Re:FP (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47316705)

They've clearly replaced the old incompetent reptilians with newer, competent ones

Re: FP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47317503)

Whatever it is, I for one find this to be a refreshing change.

Re:FP (2)

Java Pimp (98454) | about 5 months ago | (#47316725)

What don't you believe? That SCOTUS made a good decision for once? Or that you missed First Post by that much?

Re:FP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47317089)

The truly competent criminals become politicians anyway, so cell phone searches really aren't that useful in fighting crime.

And even if it were the NSA has all the data already.

Re:FP (3, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | about 5 months ago | (#47316799)

no problemo. they will just buy the self-same info from facebook or amazon and it's "affiliates" (anyone with money).

Re:FP (5, Insightful)

AvitarX (172628) | about 5 months ago | (#47316827)

I kind of do.

It's pretty obvious that the data on cell phones is "papers" from the fourth amendment, and the phones themselves are "effects".

Re:FP (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#47316881)

It's pretty obvious that the data on cell phones is "papers" from the fourth amendment, and the phones themselves are "effects".

Obvious, except to the government lawyers and/or attorneys general who issue the guidance which says "nah, we can do anything we want".

Because they've been arguing that this isn't your "papers and effects", and therefore they could whatever they pleased.

Because government and law enforcement have mostly been focusing on how to ignore the Constitution and claim it doesn't apply.

It's simply too inconvenient for them to have to follow all of these pesky laws.

Re:FP (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 5 months ago | (#47317019)

Agreed, but generally the supreme court gets it right (not always, but maybe 75% of the time).

Especially when they have conflicting rulings to work with.

Re:FP (4, Funny)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 5 months ago | (#47317217)

However, in this case, the Supreme Court was 8-1, and the opinion amounted to "WTF is wrong with you? Of course you need a warrant, asshat!"

Re:FP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47317305)

I thought unanimous meant 9-0. My mistake.

Re:FP (1)

Ghostworks (991012) | about 5 months ago | (#47317167)

It is common sense obvious. It is not common law obvious. Previous rulings on cell phones extended the findings for pagers, and the finding for pagers was that they were a container of information, like an address book, which can be searched like any other container during a stop or arrest.

There was obviously strain between previous rulings and reality, but that doesn't mean with any certainty that it was going to be corrected today by the Supreme Court. The court could have even further extended the previous cell phone findings, or even delivered a weaker test for whether the "container" can be searched. That makes this a rare, decisive, and unanimous(!) ruling from the court.

Re:FP (2)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 5 months ago | (#47317261)

What about the Cloud? The great workaround to constitution in the digital age?

Re:FP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47317035)

What don't you believe? That SCOTUS made a good decision for once? Or that you missed First Post by that much?

What are you people on? This does nothing, ""Phones may still be searched under limited circumstances (imminent threats), but this looks like a clear win for privacy"" (imminent threats) the same shit the NSA and police already use to search the phones, and they can just go to the service provider to get what they want, and both law enforcement can hide behind the Patriot Act, and the service provider can claim they didn't know, or they didn't want to get on the bad side of law enforcement. And considering few people have to money to fight their cases in courts let alone file an appeal, and motions to have bad evidence thrown out, a lawsuit or even get any interest from the ACLU, and other "freedom fighter" groups to have someone do something to help them out.

The already "browse" the phones in accidents, in arrests, and if they find something 'browsing' they go get a warrant. It the same shit they already do with peoples vehicles, homes, personal property, whatever you want to call it. This is nothing more, as are the previous rulings that have been reported on, as political pandering. This shit went on for years and the courts always came up with some bullshit to ignore it. They were hoping it would lose public interest, and because it hasn't and it is being reported throughout the worlds news, now the have to find a way for it to die off.

Re:FP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47317153)

Don't get too excited. It was a good call, but probably indicates that each member of SCOTUS knows how much incriminating information he/she has on his/her own device.

So they'll just add (0)

future assassin (639396) | about 5 months ago | (#47316621)

The driver was an imminent threat to the general prublic by driving with undue care and attention or by operrerating an usafe vehicle (Ie burn tout head light, tail light, etc...).

Re:So they'll just add (1)

e3m4n (947977) | about 5 months ago | (#47316699)

unless they can search his cell phone while he is still driving, there can't be any imminent threat as the threat has been neutralized the moment the driver stopped his vehicle and surrendered to roadside interrogation. There could be other 'word trickery' employed about other things though. Using the patriot act to go after regular criminals is a good example of more police required to police said police.

Re:So they'll just add (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#47316953)

Using the patriot act to go after regular criminals is a good example of more police required to police said police.

More police just adds more layers in which they can game the system.

What needs to happen is a permanent recording of all interactions with people so they can't just get together and decide what their story will be.

We need to fix the system so that it has an inherent "we can't just take you at your word" element in it. Because time after time the police have demonstrated they neither know, nor care about, the actual law.

Sure, many of them may be honest. But if we just assume that enough of them aren't, and set up a system which shows what really happened ... then maybe we might be better off.

I have lost count of the number of times I've seen stories in which the police collectively say "this is what happened", and when someone's cell phone video comes up they're proven to have been lying. And then their own internal review boards clear them of any wrong doing.

There needs to be more serious penalties for when police flout the law. And there needs to be more capturing of what actually happened, because when they do flout the law, the band together to hide that fact.

Increasingly, I think we need to apply the same thing to government. Because we can't trust them to follow the law either.

Re:So they'll just add (0)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 5 months ago | (#47317233)

Who will watch the watchers?

Re:So they'll just add (2, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#47317379)

Hopefully, everybody. Make the information public. Livestream it to the interwebs. Have citizen groups review it. Make review of the content mandatory if there is any dispute. If the police 'accidentally' turned them off or made sure they could't see anything .. throw out the case.

Do anything which opens the process and prevents abuse.

The cops will complain about their privacy and their rights, but using that to ignore ours is not what I'd call a good excuse.

Trusting them blindly clearly isn't working. So you structure the system so it says, "we don't actually trust you, and we don't trust the people who are supposed to be overseeing you".

By the people, for the people. Not whatever the hell we decide we want to do.

How many times have police officers need to be told they have no legal right to confiscate your phone, or force you to delete pictures from it? They obviously don't know or care what the law says. So, we obviously can't trust them.

Re:So they'll just add (2, Insightful)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 5 months ago | (#47317531)

Eventually, citizens will record everything, and what you are suggesting is going to pass.

If the government can record anywhere, we the people should be recording anywhere.

Re:So they'll just add (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 5 months ago | (#47317333)

Actually they can, [wikipedia.org] but it doesn't really matter much anyway what SCOTUS rules. These paramilitary groups and pentagon nerds will barely even notice the speed bump. The cops may have to rely more on parallel-construction when they get to the court room but that's the extent of the impact the ruling will have.

Re:So they'll just add (5, Informative)

thaylin (555395) | about 5 months ago | (#47316717)

according to the ruling, which I have read most of, you would have to prove the data on the phone would be an imminent threat, which is impossible to do. They state in the opinion that you can search a phone for psychical threats such as a bomb or a blade hidden in the case, but data on a phone is not an imminent threat, it is just data.

Re:So they'll just add (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 5 months ago | (#47316745)

Thank you, I wasn't sure what they meant by the imminent threat.

We had the same ruling up here in Canada, although you do have to lock your phone with a password. It requires a specific type of warrant, not a general warrant.

Re:So they'll just add (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 5 months ago | (#47316843)

This is directly from the ruling:

Digital data stored on a cell phone cannot itself be used as a weapon to harm an arresting officer or to effectuate the arrestee’s escape. Law enforcement officers remain free to examine the physical aspects of a phone to ensure that it will not be used as a weapon—say, to determine whether there is a razor blade hidden between the phone and its case. Once an officer has secured a phone and eliminated any potential physical threats, however, data on the phone can endanger no one.

And sorry about the errors of type and spelling in my OP.

Re:So they'll just add (2)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 months ago | (#47316921)

That's essentially an extension of stop-and-frisk, which holds they can search you sans warrant to look for weapons or other items that may pose a danger to the officer. Other contraband discovered in the course of this search may be admissible, if the nature of such contraband was "readily apparent" to the officer, but it's not supposed to be license to go fishing.

Re:So they'll just add (2)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 5 months ago | (#47317039)

The data could be an imminent threat. If you suspect someone of being one of two kidnappers, who threatened to kill their victim, and was arrested with the phone in hand.

Then there would be an imminent threat of death for the victim, allowing cops to search the phone for recent calls.

Re:So they'll just add (0)

thaylin (555395) | about 5 months ago | (#47317207)

That is not an imminent threat to the officers, it is to the victim. they are only allowed to search, even before this ruling, if it is an imminent threat to the officers. You dont get to violate the 4th amendment just in case there is something happening to someone else.

Imminent Threat (1)

DodgeRules (854165) | about 5 months ago | (#47317095)

IMHO and IANAL, an imminent threat where they would need to search the phone would be if the phone contained info on a bomb about to go off or info on an abduction where the abducted person is expected to be killed or harmed. Having drugs on the suspect or a suspect speeding is not an imminent threat.

Re:Imminent Threat (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 5 months ago | (#47317251)

That MAY be possible, but that is not an imminent threat that allows you to bypass someones rights on the off chance that may be the case. It has to be an imminent threat to the officers making the arrest. They actually covered a case in the ruling that they previously ruled on, United States v. Robinson, where an officer searched and found a crumpled pack of cigs, it had no cigs but it had heroin in it. The ruled that search constitutional because what was inside could have been an imminent threat to the officer, however they ruled data alone can never be a threat to an officer in this case.

Re:So they'll just add (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 5 months ago | (#47317373)

They state in the opinion that you can search a phone for psychical threats such as a bomb or a blade hidden in the case, but data on a phone is not an imminent threat, it is just data.

So my case with the built in rocket launcher is still fair game to them? That sucks!

Re:So they'll just add (3, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 5 months ago | (#47316755)

You're almost certainly right that they'll try it, but that's not what it means here. "Imminent" means "in the near future", and the idea is that cops would like to know if you just texted all your buddies to "come to the corner of 5th and Ghetto to kill the pigs arresting you". I can certainly see why police would like to know that and have a legitimate reason to.

However, there's no way to ask a phone (slash-camera slash-Rolodex (SCOTUS's words!)), "hey, can you give me just the information I need to know in the next 5 minutes and keep everything else safe for its owner?". Cops could use that as an excuse to get into your phone, and hey, since I'm already in here, let's see what this little miscreant was posting on Facebook... SCOTUS ruled that this is a flimsy excuse that doesn't justify the privacy abuses that police had committed, and so dismissed it explicitly as not being sufficient cause to invade your personal information repo.

Re:So they'll just add (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#47316859)

The driver was an imminent threat to the general prublic by driving with undue care and attention or by operrerating an usafe vehicle (Ie burn tout head light, tail light, etc...).

No. That doesn't make sense.

However, they will still abuse citizens by simply claiming they had probable cause to search the phone. Just like they can pull you over, bring in a dog for no reason, claim the dog "alerted" on your car and then search it anyway. It's just a matter of a few DA's to come up with something that will pass some friendly judges scrutiny, do it a few times and only bring those cases to those friendly judges to avoid getting an unfavorable ruling... then later start using it on everyone and when questioned on it they'll claim "There is a set precede in law, used in dozens of cases, that shows this is a legitimate and justifiable search" and viola.

Think about DUI checkpoints. Clearly unconstitutional, but they convict people using them every day.

Re:So they'll just add (3, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 months ago | (#47316983)

Think about DUI checkpoints. Clearly unconstitutional

Says who? The precedent [wikipedia.org] suggests otherwise. I don't really care for the concept myself, but I can recognize a compelling state interest [wikipedia.org] when I see one. You're perfectly free to respond to every single question asked at a checkpoint with "I don't talk to the police, may I leave now?" and there's not a damned thing they can do about it, unless of course you're under the influence.....

unanimously? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47316629)

Who is this imposter pretending to be Clarence Thomas?

Re:unanimously? (0)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 5 months ago | (#47317253)

I was thinking Ginsberg was the pod person.

Re:unanimously? (3, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | about 5 months ago | (#47317335)

What do you mean? He voted same as Scalia and didn't say anything. Classic Thomas.

"Privacy comes at a cost." (0)

WalrusSlayer (883300) | about 5 months ago | (#47316653)

....or in other words: Freedom isn't Free.

Re:"Privacy comes at a cost." (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47316781)

It costs a buck o five.

Re:"Privacy comes at a cost." (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 5 months ago | (#47317143)

That's not the right use. of "Freedom isn't Free" [wikipedia.org]

"Freedom Is Not Free" was first coined by retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, Walter Hitchcock, of New Mexico Military Institute. The idiom expresses gratitude for the service of members of the military, implicitly stating that the freedoms enjoyed by many citizens in many democracies are only possible through the risks taken and sacrifices made by those in the military, drafted or not. The saying is often used to convey respect specifically to those who gave their lives in defense of freedom.

It is official. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47316677)

Aliens have replaced the Supreme Court of the United States.

2d4 + flip a coin (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 5 months ago | (#47317257)

It's pretty obvious the method for deciding cases at this point.

"Privacy comes at a cost" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47316685)

Exactly. And non-privacy also comes at a cost.

I am tired of the government whining about about the cost of privacy. The Founding Fathers wrote a Constitution. If the government is not willing to work under the constraints of the Constitution of the United States of America, they can emigrate to Saudi Arabia or elsewhere.

The United States of America are supposed to be a free country. Not a safe prison.

Take it or leave it.

If you have nothing to hide... (-1, Troll)

KrazyDave (2559307) | about 5 months ago | (#47316695)

...then why worry, hmm? Maybe you have some illegal pr0n or plans for a terror attack? Only people trying to hide something worry about this.

Re:If you have nothing to hide... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47317191)

Oh shut up. I have *EVERYTHING* to hide from the government. Do you want to know why? Fuck you, that's why. I don't need a valid reason to keep my papers and other articles secret.

Re:If you have nothing to hide... (2)

Pollux (102520) | about 5 months ago | (#47317415)

That is the exact argument that justifies a police state. Do you want a society where you can be searched at any time by the police to see if you're guilty of a crime, even when they do not have reasonable suspicion of you committing a crime? You, your parents, your friends, and everyone you know will always be treated as though you're guilty of something, and the police's job is just finding out what that something is.

Imminent Threat (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 5 months ago | (#47316709)

This is reasonable, as police historically have not needed a warrant if there is an "imminent threat".

However, any genuine "imminent threat" from a cell phone would be an extremely -- and I mean very extremely -- rare circumstance.

(Note for citizens: this is not a good reason to not lock your phone. Police have been known to bend the rules. I would like to see that change, but today you should be careful.)

Re:Imminent Threat (1)

Br00se (211727) | about 5 months ago | (#47316811)

Off the top of my head, I can only imagine a situation where a phone is strongly suspected to contain information relating to a kidnapping, bombing, etc where the information may lead to the rescue of a victim or victims. In other cases they can collect the phone while they wait for a warrant from a judge.

Re:Imminent Threat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47317131)

There is always the imminent threat of stirring up public unrest when somebody is posing the risk of sending somewhere a video he captured of a cop beating a "suspect" to death without reason.

Re:Imminent Threat (2)

NotSanguine (1917456) | about 5 months ago | (#47317393)

Off the top of my head, I can only imagine a situation where a phone is strongly suspected to contain information relating to a kidnapping, bombing, etc where the information may lead to the rescue of a victim or victims. In other cases they can collect the phone while they wait for a warrant from a judge.

IANAL, but I believe what you are referring to is Exigent Circumstances [wikipedia.org] rather than Imminent Threat.

Re:Imminent Threat (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 5 months ago | (#47317437)

Oh, I suppose the device could be a dead-man switch to "something interesting." Or for kicks and giggles, the actual "something interesting." Regardless, SCOTUS doesn't have much power to control the boots on the ground.

Re:Imminent Threat (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 5 months ago | (#47317403)

The term "imminent threat" like everything else as it relates to matters of law is as fluid and malleable as the entity wielding the power wants it to be.

"Imminent Threats" (0)

FuzzNugget (2840687) | about 5 months ago | (#47316735)

Something tells me the occurrence of such claims will be increasing dramatically.

Moot point (1, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | about 5 months ago | (#47316739)

The NSA, FBI and local cops are well beyond caring about what the courts or Congress thinks. If our legal system had any teeth in it, this might be different. But if all the courts are going to do is say, "We have ruled. Fail to comply and we will issue another ruling." the cops are just going to ROTFL.

Re:Moot point (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 5 months ago | (#47316931)

They'll just go ahead and search your phone anyway, by whatever means they have. They won't be able to submit what they find as evidence . . . until they get a search warrant afterwards.

They can still use anything they find as part of their investigations . . . to get other evidence by legal means, which they then can submit to a judge for a warrant.

Re:Moot point (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#47317111)

Or, they'll go with their new favorite toy ... illegally search your phone, and then go through the bullshit of parallel construction.

And then it would be "we got an anonymous tip, and confirmed it when we checked his cell phone", which will be used to cover up "we illegally searched his phone, and then called in our own tip".

And none of them will be charged with perjury or obstruction of justice.

Until we start seeing police officers charged and jailed for this crap, they'll keep doing it.

The police have become little better than those in banana republics where you have to assume they're all corrupt, because there's enough of them to make assuming the one you've got now is honest is a bad idea.

Re:Moot point (0)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 5 months ago | (#47317065)

Not true at all for the FBI.

The FBI locks people up, but they don't control the prisons. The prison system is very obedient to the courts. So if the court says the FBI screwed up, we have to let them go, the prisons lets them go.

When speaking about the NSA on the other hand, you have a better argument. The NSA does not lock people up where the US courts can release them. In fact, they are more likely to just kill someone.

Borders (0)

OzPeter (195038) | about 5 months ago | (#47316741)

Now all the US needs is a similar commonsense approach at border crossings.

Re:Borders (1, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#47316935)

Now all the US needs is a similar commonsense approach at border crossings.

You're assuming our government wants to fix the problem. They don't. The border issue is good for everyone involved with the exception of the immigrants.

Business leaders get nearly slave labor. People can't report illegal activity protest poor conditions.
Democrats get to pretend to fight for the little guy. They offer amnesty because they know it will kill the issue, continuing the problem and giving them more political capital because they're seen as doing the right thing... even though they aren't doing anything really.
Republicans get to pretend they care about the American worker, by keeping the foreigners out. But what they are really doing is keeping those workers (who are already here) in the shadows... there-by assuring that they wont even make minimum wage and making them an even greater threat to American jobs. To perpetuate the issue, every time it comes up they suggest we put the military on the border, witch they know is completely impossible.

Re:Borders (2)

OzPeter (195038) | about 5 months ago | (#47317001)

Now all the US needs is a similar commonsense approach at border crossings.

You're assuming our government wants to fix the problem. They don't. The border issue is good for everyone involved with the exception of the immigrants.

Umm .. you do know that I am talking about the confiscation and inspection of electronics in your possession as you legally cross a border into the US?

Double speak (5, Interesting)

Trachman (3499895) | about 5 months ago | (#47316809)

I think that we are getting deeper into the woods and Supreme Court can actually keep two opposing concepts in mind at the time and be ok with it. Supreme court decision covers police and says that police cannot spy on cellphone owners. Can somebody explain, if, then NSA, FBI, CIA, DHS, TSA, DIA and thousands of other agencies can continue spying? What if policeman will call his colleague at DEA, FBI and will ask for data: happens all the times. What about the usual process, where DIA employee working with NSA data while spying on US people will give a tip to local police to check "that person". Also, does the ruling cover only cellphones? What about the rest of devices, such as desktops, tablets etc. Ruling says that other devices are covered. The outcome is that spying and collection will continue as it has continued. People who have privacy concerns will be pacified with this ruling. Finest example of doublespeak and doublethink.

Re:Double speak (1)

wiredog (43288) | about 5 months ago | (#47316923)

In those cases, the information (since it was gained as part of an intel and not LEO operation) would not be admissible.

Double speak (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47316965)

FBI, NSA, etc. are searching communications, not data stored on cellphones.

Re:Double speak (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | about 5 months ago | (#47317517)

As far as we know at this time, subject to further revelations/leaks which may challenge this, FBI, NSA, etc. are searching communications, not data stored on cellphones.

FTFY

Strat

Does this apply to the TSA? (1)

dszd0g (127522) | about 5 months ago | (#47316889)

Does this apply to the TSA who regularly searches laptops and cell phones?

Re:Does this apply to the TSA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47316933)

Are you confusing the TSA with customs and border patrol?

Re:Does this apply to the TSA? (3, Informative)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 5 months ago | (#47316995)

Yup, he/she is, and no, it won't apply, since screening at the border is a different animal.

Re:Does this apply to the TSA? (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 5 months ago | (#47317015)

I would think that it should since the ruling should since the Supreme Court said the police could search the device for physical threats but not the data on the device. So the TSA could make sure that your laptop wasn't somehow hiding a knife but couldn't look through your computer to see who you e-mailed recently. Of course, this is in theory. Applying it in practice is another matter. You can point out Supreme Court rulings until you are blue in the face and the TSA will force you to decide between 1) submitting to their practices to make your flight, 2) being kicked out of the airport and missing your flight, or 3) being arrested and missing your flight.

Re:Does this apply to the TSA? (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 5 months ago | (#47317079)

No. The TSA does not care about imminent threat.

Re:Does this apply to the TSA? (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 5 months ago | (#47317451)

Not really, they're looking for porn and other related peripherals, not imminent threats.

Great (2)

Controlio (78666) | about 5 months ago | (#47316913)

Now if we can just add language to somehow apply this to apps...

A commercial entity being allowed to download all of the info out of my smart phone makes me no less comfortable than the government doing it. Especially when it's through a trojan horse such as Candy Crush or Angry Birds.

This is the only reason I root my Android. If reasonable restrictions were in place, I wouldn't need to. But until the advertising giant and information harvester that writes the OS has a change of heart, I will continue to restrict said access through any means necessary.

Well unless... (5, Interesting)

Redmancometh (2676319) | about 5 months ago | (#47316927)

This is great unless you're one of the 2/3 of people that live within 100 miles of the border in a "constitution exempt" zone.

Re:Well unless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47317161)

Where would that be? If there is an area where the constitution is exempt, then the government would have no power to operate there. The constitution is what grants them their power.

Bet (1)

jodido (1052890) | about 5 months ago | (#47316939)

Any takers on a bet that Congress will pass a law making legal what the Supremes just ruled against?

Re:Bet (2)

jratcliffe (208809) | about 5 months ago | (#47317005)

It would take a Constitutional amendment, not just a law.

Re:Bet (1)

preaction (1526109) | about 5 months ago | (#47317043)

I'll take it, proviso that if SCOTUS strikes the law down as unconstitutional in less than 5 year... make that 10 ye... How long has the USA PATRIOT Act been around?

Re:Bet (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 5 months ago | (#47317047)

Unless the draft and amendment to the US Constitution and have the states ratify it. No I can't see them doing this. Of course in the future, the SCOTUS may review another case about some guy who was convicted on what they found on his phone without a warrant yada yada yada..

Re:Bet (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | about 5 months ago | (#47317099)

I will take that bet. The GOP is currently pushing privacy for american citizens, claiming Obama is evil. For that reason, Congress will not rule against a pro-american privacy ruling by the SCOTUS. Now, if terrorists were somehow involved, the GOP would say "Rights? Foreigners don't got no rights!"

Re:Bet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47317213)

They just have to amend telecoms laws making the owning and operating a personal phone illegal for the clients, deny the selling of burner phones and tie all phones to the service provider contracts, making the phones their property. And require all contracts to include a certain clause about personal information. The market is already going this way, so both of the major parties can embrace it without reservations.

Alito voted against the cops? (5, Interesting)

snsh (968808) | about 5 months ago | (#47316955)

During his confirmation hearings, Ted Kennedy noted that Sam Alito "never saw a police search he didn't like."

Alito wrote up his own opinion on this decision, not-quite agreeing with the rest of the bench, but still voting against this particular search. I guess there's a first for everything.

Re:Alito voted against the cops? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47317073)

Alito concurred in Jones.

Re:Alito voted against the cops? (3, Funny)

operagost (62405) | about 5 months ago | (#47317141)

Because Ted Kennedy was a straight-shooting guy who would never denigrate anyone, even if they were from the opposing party.

Finally a small step back towards sanity (1)

robstout (2873439) | about 5 months ago | (#47317101)

I'm very happy to see this. Its a start.

Re:Finally a small step back towards sanity (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | about 5 months ago | (#47317479)

If whitewash is a sanity measure, then sure, sanity wins the day.

What about... (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 5 months ago | (#47317103)

The TSA? Can they still require you to give them passwords? Or copy data from your phone?

What's to stop the police from searching a phone once in their possession in a different room once a person has been arrested? Granted, they will need a warrant to make anything they find admissible, but a warrant can be requested later once they decide it's worth the trouble.

Does this also apply to the monitoring programs that the US marshals have coached local law enforcement to lie about to judges?

Re:What about... (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 5 months ago | (#47317385)

The TSA can never force you to give them your password (or copy data from your phone for the matter). CBP (Customs and Border Protection) always could and still can. Know your acronyms and rights folks, it can be very useful.

It obviously doesnt cover lying by law enforcement. But that is already a crime.

Re:What about... (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 5 months ago | (#47317463)

My mistake. That's what I meant, but when I think of travel I generally think of the TSA regarding all things bad. CBP has always been courteous and professional with me. However they should not be allowed to do this.

Re:What about... (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 5 months ago | (#47317469)

You're technically correct - TSA can't force you to give them your passwords, but they will "detain" you until you do. If that means you miss your flight or end up locked in a cell, they don't care. That is why I refuse to fly anymore - we have a terrorist organization running our airports and they will do everything they can to permanently ruin your life if you so much as wince when they shove their fingers up your ass.

When *can* the police search you? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47317125)

The Justice Department, in its Supreme Court briefs, said cellphones are not materially different from wallets, purses and address books. Chief Justice Roberts disagreed.

As someone who has never been searched by the police I honestly didn't know they could do this. Under what circumstance can they search those things? Is it only upon arrest? How are wallets, address books, and purses not "papers, and effects" as described in the 4th amendment?

Posting AC since I moderated.

Makes you wonder.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47317313)

....what are the justices trying to hide?

"Privacy comes at a cost" (1)

neo-mkrey (948389) | about 5 months ago | (#47317353)

You're God damned right it does!

They left a hole (1)

thaylin (555395) | about 5 months ago | (#47317391)

One big enough to drive a semi through: If they are truly faced with with a possible remote wipe situation they can still use exigent circumstances to search the phone.

BREAKING NEWS! (1)

Totenglocke (1291680) | about 5 months ago | (#47317427)

Today, the United States Supreme Court ruled that cell phones cannot be searched without a warrant. When asked for comment, police chief John Smith told this reporter "I don't give a fuck about your Supreme Court or your Constitution. If we want to search your fucking phone, you bet your ass we'll do it - and if you try to stop us, we'll shoot you. Kneel, peasants."
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