As of Wednesday, June 25th, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously (9-0) that police officers will need a warrant before searching the cellphone or personal electronic devices, like a tablet or a laptop, of the person arrested. However, the court left open the opportunity for law enforcement officers to search a digital device under “exigent circumstances,” such as a bomb scenario or when there’s reason to believe that the evidence is about to be destroyed.
This case was brought up due to the 2 cases prior; Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie. In the first case, Riley v. California, a man was pulled over for expired tags and after a search revealed possession of firearms. Police went through his phone and found evidence that tied to gang activity and another crime. In the second case, United States v. Wurie, Brian Wurie was arrested after an apparent drug deal. While in custody, police officers searched through his phone to look for his residence and collected evidence for his conviction. Unlike the first case, the Court overturned the verdict. They ruled that the collection of evidence was a a violation of the Fourth Amendment and a warrant was necessary.
In my opinion, the requirement of a warrant to search a phone is completely fair. In today’s world, a phone isn’t just something people use to talk or text with but something that is with them daily. People are using it to collect memories and pictures, store passwords and important information, write to social media, and many other tasks. A digital device is everything to people and searching it through would be breaking in into their personal life.