Sens. Paul, Coons Urge Supreme Court to Support Smartphone Privacy

Image: Sens. Paul, Coons Urge Supreme Court to Support Smartphone Privacy

Wednesday, 28 May 2014 08:57 AM

By Drew MacKenzie

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
Two U.S. senators urged the Supreme Court to support the constitutional right to privacy in two cases involving searches without warrants of smartphones.

In a commentary for Politico, Republican Rand Paul of Kentucky and Democrat Chris Coons of Delaware opined on the lawsuits Riley v. California and the United States v. Wurie.

"At question is whether the police can search the contents of a phone without a warrant during an arrest," they wrote. "At stake is whether technological advancements have rendered one of our most treasured civil liberties obsolete."

Many Americans "keep their entire lives on their phones," including family photos, daily appointments, emails, and Internet searches, while the phone can even pinpoint where they have been each day, the senators wrote.

According to these two cases, the federal government and the state of California are calling for unfettered access to smartphones owned by people under arrest, without needing search warrants because of public safety concerns.

But Paul and Coons say the Fourth Amendment was written into the Constitution by the Founding Fathers to grant Americans the right to feel "secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures."

At the time, the amendment was aimed at preventing a repeat of one of the main grievances under British rule that allowed officials to search colonial homes and rifle through their private papers and personal belongings for potentially damning evidence, the senators wrote.

"There can be little doubt that the modern smartphone is today’s equivalent of our Founders’ 'papers and effects,'" they wrote. "The Fourth Amendment protects us from unreasonable, warrantless searches of these modern-day versions of 'papers and effects.'"

Paul and Coons wrote that if there are no inherent dangers in a suspect having a smartphone, the officers must first obtain a search warrant, justified by probable cause, from a judge.

"The evolution of technology and modern life creates challenges for a Constitution ratified 235 years ago," they wrote. "Technology will continue to evolve, but our Constitution endures. We took an oath to uphold the Constitution. So did every member of the U.S. Supreme Court.

"The government says that it has the authority to search phones without a warrant.
As a matter of text and history, however, the Fourth Amendment says that they do not. We hope the Supreme Court agrees."

Related Stories:

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Gambling Nuke Commander Linked to Fake Poker Chips

Saturday, 22 Nov 2014 10:07 AM

The admiral fired last year as No. 2 commander of U.S. nuclear forces may have made his own counterfeit $500 poker chips . . .

Cassidy: Americans Waiting Too Long for Keystone XL Pipeline

Saturday, 22 Nov 2014 10:05 AM

If any bill should have passed Senate approval, it should have been the one to approve the long-awaited Keystone XL pipe . . .

Proposed Obamacare Changes Aim to Avoid Sticker Shock at Renewal Time

Saturday, 22 Nov 2014 07:50 AM

Obamacare customers who choose to re-enroll in insurance plans would automatically default to cheaper coverage during si . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved