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ACLU of Nevada Applauds Supreme Court Ruling on Cell Phone Searches

PHOTO: A U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring that police get a warrant to search cell phones is being called a major victory for privacy rights by the ACLU of Nevada. Photo courtesy of NASA.
PHOTO: A U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring that police get a warrant to search cell phones is being called a major victory for privacy rights by the ACLU of Nevada. Photo courtesy of NASA.
June 26, 2014

CARSON CITY, Nev. - The ACLU of Nevada is applauding this week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that will require police to obtain a warrant before searching a citizen's cell phone or smart phone.

Tod Story, executive director of the ACLU of Nevada, says Wednesday's unanimous ruling is a major victory for the privacy rights of all Americans, as protected under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

"Cell phones should be no different than our homes or our cars," says Story. "Without a reasonable amount of suspicion or probable cause, no officer of the law has the right to search or seize our property without probable cause and obtaining a warrant."

The Supreme Court case involves plaintiffs who were originally arrested for minor crimes, but later faced additional, more serious allegations after police searches of their cell phones.

According to Story, the ruling is significant because nine out of ten Americans own a cell phone or smart phone. He says the ruling shows the Supreme Court recognizes that privacy rights extend to a rapidly expanding digital world.

"The Supreme Court has appropriately determined the digital extension of ourselves in the form of a smart phone is essentially our lives online," says Story. "Our day-to-day lives are reflected in our digital applications."

Story adds protecting privacy rights will become even more important as the lives of Americans increasingly migrate to the digital world.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV