The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Americans and the 4th Amendment yesterday in a unanimous decision that prevents police from snooping into people’s cellphones without a warrant.
“The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought,” wrote Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. “Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple — get a warrant.”
The justices equated the information contained in cellphones to millions of pages to documents and police searches of cellphones to ransacking a person’s home in an effort to uncover everything that might incriminate him.
Of course, Supreme Court decisions are often ignored by the police, who continue to harass, intimidate, assault and arrest people for taking video of police actions despite a Supreme Court ruling that the activity is lawful. So it’s best to keep your cellphone password-locked to prevent an unlawful search during a police encounter.
While this is certainly a victory for privacy rights, it does little more than give the National Security Agency a monopoly on snooping into the electronic data and communications of the people. Unless and until government snooping organizations — NSA, FBI, CIA, etc. — are hamstrung by court decisions, we should all assume our electronic communications are not private.
Note from the Editor: Under the Obama Administration, the NSA, the IRS, and the State and Justice departments are blatantly stepping on Americans’ privacy—and these are just the breaches we’re aware of. I’ve arranged for readers to get a free copy of The Ultimate Privacy Guide so you can be protected from any form of surveillance by anyone—government, corporate or criminal. Click here for your free copy.