Ever since the US Supreme Court announced in mid-January that it agreed to hear two companion cases involving warrantless searches and seizures of cell phones, the privacy world has been abuzz. Yesterday, several prominent privacy groups filed briefs telling the court why it should stop cops from making easy, no-warrant phone searches.
One case, United States v. Wurie, involves an old-fashioned flip-phone, while the other, Riley v. California, involves a modern smartphone capable of storing much more personal information both locally and in the cloud.
The issue before the court in Riley is whether an arrest alone allows a police officer to search the vast troves of data available on a person’s smartphone. In David Riley’s case, his phone held a potentially incriminating photo: Riley was standing next to a red Oldsmobile allegedly involved in a shooting.

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