California Supreme Court Allows Warrantless Searches of Cell Phones

In People v. Diaz, the California Supreme Court has held that an exception to the Fourth Amendment permits warrantless searches of a person's cellphone following an arrest. The court said that the search in this case was "incident to a lawful arrest." In a dissenting opinion, Judge Werdegar said that the exception was intended to permit warrantless searches of clothing or small physical containers, and that accessing electronic data storage devices is uniquely invasive. "Never before has it been possible to carry so much personal or business information in one's pocket or purse" the judge stated. In a recent Supreme Court "friend of the court" Brief, EPIC explained that modern communications devices contain extensive personal information and should be entitled to privacy protection. For more information, see City of Ontario v. Quon.

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