Legal Precedent To Be Set On Smartphone Searches

Ryan Calo, a residential fellow at the Center for Internet & Society, talks to Holly Quan of KCBS about whether police searching cell phones at time of arrest without obtaining a search warrant violates privacy rights:

New ground could be broken in a San Mateo County courtroom when a judge decides whether evidence collected from the warrantless search of a suspect's smartphone is admissible. Experts say the case speaks to how the law isn't keeping up with technology.

If police need a warrant to confiscate someone's computer from their home, would they need one to take one out of your pocket? Smartphones are so much more than cell phones now, but they are treated the same when it comes to searches.


Ryan Calo is a Fellow with the Center for Internet and Society. He says the law hasn't kept up with technology and there are cases pending now to show how far behind it is. For instance one on the East Coast where "the argument is over whether or not officers need a warrant in order to get information about your location from the cell towers because, as people may or may not know, your cell phone is constantly looking at cell towers and triangulating your location. A lot of law enforcement actually tries to look for that information to figure out where you were if you are being investigated in some way. And so there is a fight over whether that should require a warrant."