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SB 914 Protects Your Cell Phone from Arbitrary Police Searches


We previously blogged the People v. Diaz case where the California Supreme Court ruled that the police, when arresting you, do not need to obtain a warrant to search the personal data contained on your cell phone. The rationale behind the decision was that searching a smart phone is analogous to searching a pack of cigarettes, thus implying that police are free to search through all the data on your phone even if there is no reason for them to believe that the information would lead to discovery of a crime.

Currently, California law permits an arresting officer to conduct a "pat down," reach into your pocket and access your phone and its contents, even if your phone has nothing to do with what you are being arrested for.

On September 1, the California State Legislature passed SB 914 in a response to People v. Diaz. The bill requires the police to treat a cell phone like a closed container such that they must obtain a warrant based on probable cause before they can search through its contents and your personal information.

SB 914 is currently awaiting signature before Governor Jerry Brown. Our office has contacted the governor and urged him to protect your privacy. We encourage everyone to contact the governor and show your support for SB 914 as well. You can contact the governor here:

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