On June 25, 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Riley v. California, holding 9-0 that law enforcement personnel cannot search detained suspects’ cell phones without a warrant. Writing for the Court, Chief Justice John Roberts found that the practice of searching cell phones implicates “substantially greater” individual privacy interests than other physical objects that may be found on an arrestee and deserves heightened protections. Roberts stated:

“A conclusion that inspecting the contents of an arrestee’s pockets works no substantial additional intrusion on privacy beyond the arrest itself may make sense as applied to physical items, but any extension of that reasoning to digital data has to rest on its own bottom. Cell phones differ in both a quantitative and a qualitative sense from other objects that might be kept on an arrestee’s person.”