The Supreme Court agreed Friday to examine the issue of cellphone privacy, in two cases that may decide whether police can search a cellphone without a warrant during an arrest.
USA Today reports that the nation’s highest court will hear two cases in which police searched defendants’ cell phones or smart phones without warrants. In both instances, police uncovered vital information that turned minor drug and traffic violations into felony convictions.
A 40-year-old Supreme Court decision permits police to perform warrantless searches on people when they are arrested, but lower courts have offered conflicting decisions on whether this ruling should apply to mobile phones, according to the Associated Press.
The Justice Department maintains that, “police have full authority not only to seize any object they find on an arrestee, but also to search its contents.”
The two cases – U.S. v. Wurie and Riley v. California – will be heard in April and decisions are expected in late June. The cases could be precursors to the Supreme Court taking up the issue of the federal government’s spying under the National Security Program.