“People carry their entire lives on their cellphone,” she said during the argument involving a San Diego case. If there are no limits, a police officer could stop a motorist for not having seat belt buckled and download a huge amount of information, looking for some evidence of wrongdoing, she warned.
Such a search could include “every single email, all their bank records, all their medical records,” she said, as well as GPS data that would show everywhere they had traveled recently.
But Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. pressed the opposite view. Police who make an arrest have always been permitted to check a wallet, a billfold or a purse, and that might include personal photos.
“What’s the difference if the photos are in a billfold or on smartphone?” he asked. The smartphone may include more, but “I don’t see there’s much difference,” he said.
Dumbfuck. If the guy has his computer in the back seat, do the cops get to search that without a warrant, too?
It would sure be nice to have some Justices that were at least marginally technologically literate. You have to be a moron to see no difference between a wallet and a smartphone – let alone what phones will be like in a few years.
In the meantime, make sure you have industrial strength encryption and passwords on your phones. And if you’re really smart, you’ll try to have some way to brick the beast if the gestapo confiscates it.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Another of the Amendments whose plain language has been corrupted and ignored by the very men who swear to defend the Constitution against all enemies – except themselves, I guess.
That argument got a skeptical reception. Justices pointed out that removing the smartphone from a suspect’s possession and searching it on the spot could save police officers from harm. For example, they could find a text sent right before the arrest wherein a suspect asks his fellow gang members for assistance. If police officers had to wait hours for a warrant to read that text, they could be ambushed.
I’m sorry, but this is authoritarian police state thinking, no more, no less. And I’m surprised to see the supposed constitutionalist on the court pushing it. Actually, I’m not. The sainted Scalia has never let the Constitution stand in the way of his own darker statist impulses. Apparently that also goes for the “libertarian” Alito.
Check out my new bestseller, Lightning Fall: A Novel of Disaster. Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit.com says: “Bill Quick has authored a terrific thriller that is also an all too plausible warning. Highly recommended!” Available in Kindle e-book or trade paperback formats.