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Law Forbidding Warrantless Cell Phone Searches in Effect

PRIVACY LAW—U.S.

September 22, 2011

A California law took effect this week that requires law enforcement officers to obtain a search warrant before seizing and searching a suspect's cell phone. The law unanimously passed the California Assembly, overturning a California Supreme Court decision last January that allowed police to search the cell phones of assailants. The law applies not only to cell phones but also to all "portable electronic devices...capable of creating, receiving, accessing or storing electronic data or communications." Attorney Hanni Fakhoury of the Electronic Frontier Foundation said the law sends a strong message to other courts and U.S. legislatures--as well the U.S. Supreme Court.     
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