WASHINGTON —- Cellphones and smartphones generally cannot be searched by police without a warrant during arrests, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday in a major victory for privacy rights.
Ruling on two cases from California and Massachusetts, the justices acknowledged both a right to privacy and a need to investigate crimes. But they came down squarely on the side of privacy rights.
"Modern cellphones, as a category, implicate privacy concerns far beyond those implicated by the search of a cigarette pack, a wallet or a purse," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court.
"We cannot deny that our decision today will have an impact on the ability of law enforcement to combat crime," he said. "Privacy comes at a cost."