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Mass. Supreme Judicial Court Cellphone Ruling

A woman speaks on her cell phone. (mark sebastian/Flickr)

A woman speaks on her cellphone. (mark sebastian/Flickr)

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has issued its first decision on cell phone privacy and criminal suspects. In short, the court ruled that police do not need a warrant to search call logs on a suspect’s cell phone following an arrest.

Civil libertarians worry that Massachusetts may have just taken a step down the slippery slope to a future warrantless searches — not just on your call logs, but your location data, texts, tweets, anything stored on your cellphone.



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  • Call_Me_Missouri

    Comparing Location Data History to Call Logs is completely invalid.  There is no comparison between those two things.

    The distinction is that Location Data History is stored physically on the Cell Phone Carrier’s Server.

    Your Call Log is Physically stored in your phone.

    And as is typical of criminals, they’re too stupid to clear their phone’s call log, thus forcing the police officers to get a warrant to get your call log from the Phone Company.

  • Guest

    I’m confused about this. Logistically, if cop has arrested and charged someone, haven’t they confiscated the person’s belongings? Isn’t the person, at this point, in a cell awaiting a hearing of some sort? In this case, speed of obtaining a warrant is not an issue, the alleged criminal is in a jail cell. Get a warrant, there would be time for the process. This ruling seems like it will have more of an effect on cell phones that are found, as opposed to confiscated. Those cell phones who’s owners are not anywhere to be found. In this case, I believe you would NEED a warrant, or probable cause. Another issue, aren’t phones password protected these days… Do those passwords just mean nothing? IDK!!! CONFUSION. If information in the phone is crucial for the initial arrest, perhaps that arrest should be rethought. Should the arrest really rely upon who the perpetrator has recently called? I may be exposing my ignorance in this part of our legal system, but I don’t quite understand this issue…

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