The US Supreme Court is to rule on warrant-less searches of electronic devices. Law Enforcement (LE) want access, without warrants, to electronic devices of everybody arrested.
The US Supreme Court on Tuesday will take on the digital-age controversy over search and seizure of smart-phones and other devices. In two cases coming before the court, warrant-less searches of an electronic device not only provided the basis for criminal prosecutions but also strayed from the original reason for the arrests in question. President Barack Obama's administration and prosecutors from states across the country have lobbied for police officers to be able to search arrestees' gadgets - at or about the time of arrest - without a warrant. Such action, however, demands an examination of the Fourth Amendment's protection against "unreasonable searches and seizures." If nine out of 10 American adults own mobile phones and the devices have advanced to become virtual extensions of our personal and private lives, at what point does LE's access to their call logs, photos, and cloud-hosted data become "unreasonable" invasions of constitutionally protected privacy?
I would not go quite so far as to say it is never reasonable. If there is a clear and immediate danger that might be prevented by looking at the phone, it is reasonable to search without receiving a warrant first, in my opinion. The way they have been doing it is a clear violation though, drunks and wife beaters do not pose an imminent threat to anyone once arrested, as the situation has already been contained.
If there's a known clear and immediate danger, a warrant would be easy to obtain. If a warrant isn't required then everything will be a clear and immediate danger.
> If there is a clear and immediate danger that might be prevented by> looking at the phone, it is reasonable to search without receiving a> warrant first, in my opinion.
In theory, that sounds fine... but it reminds me too much of "national security", a catchall for doing whatever, whenever. It's a slippery slope, IMO. If you want absolute safety and security in your daily life, you'll submit to living in a police state. Or, you can be exposed to some risk and insecurity to have the benefits of some level of personal freedom.
It makes you uncomfortable but you can't argue against it precisely because that's what it's designed to do.
It's an invented scenario. Never has and never will occur, so any discussion making that point is trying to mislead you. How, exactly, would they know they could prevent this imminent danger just by looking at the contents of your phone? To do that, they'd have to *already know what is on the phone*! And if they have enough evidence to know what's on there, they could easily get a warrant, but if they have that much evidence they probably have enough information that they don't need one anyway!
This is the 'perpetual motion machine' of national security arguments. Completely bogus, but it keeps people arguing and distracted...