Does law enforcement need a warrant to search cell phone records? Do the same rules apply when entering someone’s home to search for key evidence? What are the new laws regarding smartphone searches, as technology rises with new hybrids, and even greater threats?
New regulations are enforced that ban law enforcement from searching cellphones without a warrant.
The Repercussions of Searching Without a Warrant
While these devices can provide key evidence in criminal cases, searching without a warrant, the Supreme Court agrees, is a violation of the owner’s privacy. If evidence was gathered from an illegal search, it will be inadmissible in the courtroom.
The Supreme Court made the ruling earlier this year (2014), and it’s a major advancement in privacy laws sweeping the nation right now.
Highlights of the ban include restrictions for browsing call logs. There’s one exception, and this happens when there’s a serious threat to the general public’s safety.
Other Cellphone Privacy Laws Include:
- Tracking and GPS – many individuals use tracking and GPS to locate and keep loved ones safe. The owner of the cellphone will need to permit the person tracking their movements, otherwise it will be a violation of privacy rights. This however does not apply to GPS tracking of children by a parent or legal guardian.
- Intercepting Phone Calls – unless the individuals participating in the call have granted full consent to record or intercept phone conversations, this would violate the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
Readers should note that new digital privacy laws are subject to change, and each state has its own rules – not exempting Rhode Island. If you’re involved in a case that addresses violation of privacy or Fourth Amendment rights, contact John R. Grasso.