The Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled unanimously that police in most cases must get a warrant before searching a cell phone. The decision involved two cases in which police had used information from suspects' cell phones to link them to crimes. The high court said the searches had been a violation of the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Here's a portion of the ruling, written by Chief Justice John Roberts:
Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans "the privacies of life," Boyd, supra, at 630. 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. 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. [SCOTUS]