Smartphones and the 4th Amendment
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD APRIL 27, 2014
More than 90 percent of American adults own a mobile phone, and more than half of the devices are smartphones. But "smartphone" is a misnomer. They are personal computers that happen to include a phone function, and like any computer they can store or wirelessly retrieve enormous amounts of personal information: emails, photos and videos; document files; financial and medical records; and virtually everywhere a person has been.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will consider whether law enforcement officers during an arrest may search the contents of a person's mobile phone without a warrant. The court should recognize that new technologies do not alter basic Fourth Amendment principles, and should require a judicial warrant in such circumstances.