By Sasha Bryski
As technology continues to advance, our expectation of privacy afforded by the Fourth Amendment regarding information on our cell phones is an unresolved issue for law enforcement, civil rights advocates and the ninety-one percent of the US population who use cell phones (1). Specifically at issue is whether the search of a cell phone, incident-to-an-arrest, falls within the recognized exception to the general rule that a warrant is required for a government search.
What has changed is that cell phones now carry our life’s story, from billing and tax information to emails and texts from colleagues, friends, foes and significant others. While the search incident to an arrest exception is applied when a person is outside of their home, a mobile device now carries, as described by Nicole Flatlaw of ThinkProgress, “as much information about a person as one might find from searching their home.” (2)