High Court: Cops Can’t Search Cellphone, Must Ask NSA

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(2014-06-25) — In a rare unanimous ruling on a civil rights issue, the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled that it’s unconstitutional for local police to¬†search the contents of your cellphone.

The Court declared that if local law enforcement wants to access that data, they’ll have to ask the National Security Agency (NSA) to provide it.


The threat of local police doing warrantless searches on cellphones has spurred sales of the Samsung Tabula Rasa, the first smartphone that neither stores nor displays user-generated content.

“The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the right of the people to be secure in their persons and property from unreasonable searches and seizures,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts on behalf of the Court. “Allowing Barney Fife to poke around your Pinterest violates the letter and the spirit of the Constitution.”

The Chief Justice noted that the practice is not only unconstitutional, but unnecessary, since the NSA already has all of that data and more, stored in its secret server farms.

“Why should the local district attorney waste resources hacking a phone,” Roberts wrote, “when the NSA could simply send him the zip file?”



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