While over the last decade cellphone technology has advanced in leaps and bounds, the rules about searching them for evidence can still be archaic and confusing. There have been conflicting rulings on whether or not the data stored on a cellphone falls in the same category as other “pocket litter” found on a person and subject to search without warrant. Now the Supreme Court is setting out to make the distinction.
The Court announced its intention to review the current rules Jan. 17, using two opposite appellate rulings as arguments for and against warrantless cellphone searched. A court in Boston ruled that the information on a cellphone is potentially so private that it’s categorically different than the other items found on a person. But a California court disagreed, saying that by virtue of being on a person at the time of arrest it could be searched.