Police can now read the messages on your phone at will
Here's the explanation of this court decision:
"The majority opinion, written by Justice Ming Chin, cited precedents from the U.S. Supreme Court, saying the contents of a cell phone are like the contents of clothing or a cigarette pack found on a suspect's person. The U.S. Supreme Court has found that those types of searches do not require a warrant under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, the court said."
There is a rather different opinion, though, formulated by Associate Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar:
"Never before has it been possible to carry so much personal or business information in one's pocket or purse."
We're not particularly sure that we like the fact police officers are now able to access our text messages at will. Not that we have something to hide, but still we don't appreciate it. Your opinion?
1. Bob (unregistered)
This will go to US Supreme Court and get shot down. Your cell phone is not a pack of cigarettes. Not to mention that cell phones are the end point of a communications systems covered under federal wiretapping laws.
If you are really worried about it, enable a screen lock on your phone.
4. yngpapii_916 (unregistered)
Get a Blackberry & lock your phone... if you dont give them the password they have 10 tries & after that it wipes all data from the phone! im just saying. lol
10. FreeSam (unregistered)
Password won't stop them from getting the information from the service provider without a warrant.
5. Gawain (Posts: 382; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)
While I agree with your sentiment, I do not think this will go to the Supreme Court, as it was not a Federal Case (People v. Diaz), but a state case. Therefore, the State Supreme Court decision will stand. Maybe there's an angle akin to searching a guy's wallet? Password protect...
2. Alva (unregistered)
You have nothing to worry about if you are not (A) arrested, and (B) do not have illegal content on your phone. The police may see your "candid" photos or juicy text messages, but they see so much [extreme] content that the average Joe will not catch a moment of their attention.
I believe this ruling will get overturned in the future because much of it originated when phones could barely receive text messages and then only store a limited amount of messages. It was aimed at recording information that would ultimately be [destroyed] because of limited data storage (similar to rulings pertaining to pagers).
As one justice pointed out, cell phones can store a vast amount of information. They are indeed computers that can fit in a pocket or purse. As it stands now, a police officer cannot search a computer without probable cause, a search warrant, or consent.
As I said, this ruling probably will not last too long. Try and stay out of trouble in that time and keep illegal content or evidence of a crime off your phone and you should be okay...
8. jim (unregistered)
Californian's may be willing to give up there libertys, not a chance in hell I'm handing over my cellphone to anyone. We aim to stop this communist agression on the left side of the stupid country. If you hand your phone over to a cop, YOU ARE A FOOL and don't deserve freedom or liberty.
11. messiah (Posts: 433; Member since: 19 Feb 2010)
Police apparently need not only little incentive to find reasons to Taser people (multiple times), they are encourage to. Now if they are merely curious predators and believe me, they are, they can go through your entire history. It says they can go through your texts. That can be extended to Facebook and other social network tools. And to boot.... it says "if you are suspected" not "if you are charged" . It doesn't matter if you are innocent or not. They can now simply demand to go through it because you look similar to someon or were standing in the wrong place or talking too fast. If you are suspected of a crime, they shouldn't be able to ask you to recite with 100% perfection every conversation you ever had... if you feel that innocent people should surrender your civil liberties without proper incentive and just cause, you are welcoming the initiative change towards a police state. ..
Many out there suspect police of unjust activities. Are we as responsible citizens permitted to periodically check their cell phones texts? Certainly not, the Watchers clearly have their own agenda and hide it well.
13. dean (unregistered)
"You have nothing to worry about if you are not..."
That is slave think, and totally un-American.
What about your dignity to not have some government goon pry into your personal affairs?
3. Shafeer (Posts: 79; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)
Well, accessing my personal data? - AT WILL?
I think they should have a warrant or some restrictions for doing such an action...
7. Ant (unregistered)
They have been doing this in California since the invention of cell phones and pagers. This simply reaffirms what has been standard practice.
If you're a bad guy, paranoid or protective, just use a screen lock.
To enter a locked computer, locked device, locked safe , locked briefcase etc requires a warrant. Always has been required.
A notebook, paper, cell phone, binder that is readily open and accessible does not require a warrant.
If a cop 'asks' you if he/she can check it, you have the right to say no. If they have the right to proceed, the officer can, if not, they will not explore without a warrant.
12. messiah (Posts: 433; Member since: 19 Feb 2010)
They are associating cigarettes and the likes found on individuals to cell phones. Sure. They are allowed to note those in the possession of the "suspect". They CAN'T smoke the cigarettes found or spend the money found in the suspects wallet AS MUCH AS they shouldn't be able to go through a phone. When they search you in an alley they don't all you to go home and get your mail for them.
And even more so. You just know some really mean female cop is going to go up to her husband and DEMAND his cell phone as she suspects he just littered.. but FINALLY.... FINALLY she has the power to check his texts to his discrete lover in Kentucky. Moo
14. JJ (unregistered)
"A ruling of the California Supreme Court declared that if you are suspected of any wrongdoings, police officers can read the messages on your phone without needing a warrant."
You should try and read the decision and actually understand it before reporting on it.
15. Brian1 (unregistered)
I will be taking a picture of my hairy ass as a treat for some unsuspecting cop.
16. scradley (Posts: 1; Member since: 09 Aug 2013)
You can't do a lot if the cops grab your phone at a traffic stop or after an accident. Your best protection is not having the information on there. A free app from Quextit called Histaway is available that will delete your phone and text history with just one click. histaway.com