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ACLU of New Mexico 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 New Mexico. 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 New Mexico. Photo courtesy of NASA.
June 26, 2014

SANTA FE, N.M. - The ACLU of New Mexico 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.

Micah McCoy, communications manager with the ACLU of New Mexico, 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.

"The court said you've got to get a warrant when you're searching the digital parts of our lives as well," says McCoy. "That is amazingly good news for the Fourth Amendment, and amazingly good news for the fundamental right to privacy here in America."

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 McCoy, 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.

"It becomes more and more important we have these protections against arbitrary searches and seizures of our digital records," says McCoy.

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

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM