The Supreme Court unanimously ruled Wednesday that police generally may not search cellphones of arrested individuals without first obtaining a search warrant.
Chief Justice John Roberts delivered the opinion of the court. Roberts wrote that cellphones are powerful tools that are able to store a "digital record of nearly every aspect" of people's lives. Consequently, they are different from almost anything police find on a person upon arrest. A search of a person's cellphone is far more invasive to one's privacy, Roberts said, than a search of the person's wallet or purse.
"It is no exaggeration to say that many of the more than 90% of American adults who own a cellphone keep on their person a digital record of nearly every aspect of their lives — from the mundane to the intimate," Roberts wrote.