Cops Can Search Your Cellphone Without Warrant, Cali Supreme Court Rules

Cops don’t need a warrant to go through your text messages when you’ve been arrested, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The case stemmed from a guy who bought drugs from a police informant where a subsequent search of his cellphone uncovered text messages linking him to the deal.

A Deputy Sheriff saw an Ecstasy deal go down involving a car driven by the defendant. He and his passengers were arrested and six pills were discovered. The defendant denied being a part of the deal, but the cops looked through his cellphone text message folder and found one that said “6 4 80,” which the cops took to mean “six pills of E for $80.” They confronted the defendant with the messages and he confessed.

The court ruled that your “loss of privacy” when you get arrested also extends to your personal items. The majority ruled that looking through the cellphone was like taking a pack of cigarettes when searching a suspects’ clothing and using the heroin capsules found inside as evidence.

But it’s not just text messages. The ruling extends to any data on the phone, including voicemail messages, photos, address book, browsing history, etc. etc.

The dissenting opinion took a different view. “The majority’s holding … (grants) police carte blanche, with no showing of exigency, to rummage at leisure through the wealth of personal and business information that can be carried on a mobile phone or handheld computer merely because the device was taken from an arrestee’s person,” wrote Justice Kathryn Werdegar. “The majority thus sanctions a highly intrusive and unjustified type of search, one meeting neither the warrant requirement nor the reasonableness requirement of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

The defense plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ruling lets California police search your phone without a warrant [CNN]
Court: No warrant needed to search cell phone [Red Tape Chronicles] (Thanks to Michael!)


Edit Your Comment

  1. lotussix says:

    i do not think this will stand up for very long. or people can password protect their phones. glad i have an iphone that will wipe clean after 10 failed attempts.

    joke time: how do you know if someone has an iphone? don’t worry about it, they’ll be sure to tell you.

    • c!tizen says:

      “how do you know if someone has an iphone?”

      They’ll ask to borrow your phone to make a quick call.

      I keeed, I Keeed… but seriously, yeah.

      • Red Cat Linux says:

        Uhm, actually, that’s happened. And I have one friend who has both an iPhone and a Verizon phone. Cause she did this before the Driod came out, and the Verizon celly has better reception.

    • Shadowfax says:

      Agreed. It’ll either get tossed out by the supreme court, or reversed by the Cali supreme court the first time a corporation loses its business secrets because the cops rifled through an employee’s phone.

      Until then, however, it’s yet another reason not to live in the People’s Republic of California.

      • Difdi says:

        I’d say by now, they rate being referred to as The Democratic People’s Republic of California, as that appellation is shared by such wonderful nations…

        • AnthonyC says:

          It’s a republic ruling over a democratic people, not a democratic republic ruling over a people.

          As in, an elite set of representatives elected by a larger elite set of voters rules over the remaining majority of diverse people with many varied ideas and interests.

    • Psychicsword says:

      I think it will hold up but only with a clause that makes it so they cant search it if it is passworded. Also voice mails shouldn’t count because they aren’t actually stored on the phone its self.

    • remf3 says:

      I work somewhere where a lot of police come and visit. I watched them download all of the information off a phone in seconds using a device they attached to the phone. It bypasses the passwords and pulls all of the info into a PDA type device. They carry some 150 attachments so that it can connect with *ANY* phone. All of the cops in this small town had access to this device in minutes. I don’t think just using a password is going to work.

  2. MerlynNY says:

    So what happens if your phone is password locked? Do you have to hand over the password?

    • c!tizen says:

      that would be a giant F&*% NO!

      • ALP5050 says:

        Amen! Or.. “im sorry I forgot it”

        • RvLeshrac says:

          Actually, the courts have already ruled that you must provide passwords for locked devices.

          • partofme says:

            Whoa whoa whoa… major conflation of issues going on here. I’m pretty sure you’re talking about customs and border enforcement. While that is a huge rights issue, it’s definitely not applicable here.

            • YokoOhNo says:

              ^ This is correct. Der Border Agents were able to hold a computer until they broke the encryption…of course, this was done for Materland Security so a lot of people simply trusted the government that that practice wouldn’t expand…LOL

          • c!tizen says:

            not unless specifically directed to do so by a judge.

          • sonneillon says:

            SCOTUS has not made a ruling one way or another. USB encryption key followed by destroying it if the police show up. Remain silent if they try to force the password out of you with immunity tell them you destroyed the usb key which while normally is destroying evidence you gained immunity.

            • DD_838 says:

              The best advice is, as you said, REMAIN SILENT. It’s your right. If they can’t force you to speak they can’t force you to give up a password.

              • sonneillon says:


                SCOTUS has yet to make a call on whether it is evidence like DNA or a lock to a safe which can be compelled with a court order or whether it is first amendment. It is either compared to information in a persons head or a key to a lock. And it would be unfortunate to have to spend a couple years in prison waiting on appeal for a contempt of court or waiting to overturn a conviction brought because of a forced encryption key testimony.

                Although as a general principle I agree that you remain silent.

          • TooManyHobbies says:

            Well, I’ll be happy to provide *A* password. Thankfully the better encryption systems support plausible deniability.

          • bravo369 says:

            I agree. I remember reading about cases where courts ruled a person had to give the password to decrypt a hard drive, unlock a phone etc. I don’t agree with it though. I consider a phone or hard drive like a safe. Even if they get a warrant for a safe, if you don’t want to open it, they will pick the lock, saw it open, use a blowtorch etc. They should be made to do the same with encrypted computers. Break the encryption, put up a camera to catch the pw (before you arrest them) etc. I would even be fine once they get a warrant to put a keylogger on the machine so that you can unlock it once the person is arrested.

            • Ragman says:

              Not sure about that. If you’re thinking of the guy that got busted for kiddie porn coming over the Canadian border, he was compelled to give up his password because he had already used it to log in the first time his laptop was searched. According to the court, once you gave up the password, you couldn’t refuse anymore.

              Phones are computers. If they aren’t allowed to browse your laptop w/o a warrant, then that should apply to a cell phone.

          • Doubts42 says:

            A bit different. In those court cases there was already a warrant. Not just some cop making demands.

        • Snowblind says:

          “… must been when you kicked me in the head”

          I too see no reason to give them the password. Probably means I don’t let checkers check my bags at Walmart/Fry either.

          I must be one of those people who have something to hide and that is why I won’t just “comply”

          • Razor512 says:

            the walmart bag checkers, don’t actually check, they simply look at the receipt and if theres a lot of stuff on the list, they check if theres a lot of stuff in the bag, you can easily mix stolen goods with purchased goods and they wont notice.

            I don’t condone theft but I cant help but notice how useless the checkers are. I have seem people steal this way many times when I shop at walmart. they simply grab random items when it is crowded, they then put it their shopping bag along with other items, the checkers look at the receipt and the bag and never notice the stolen items

          • camman68 says:

            Resistance is Futile!

            (Just kidding…I don’t comply either)

    • NatalieErin says:

      That question is actually addressed in the linked CNN article – officers can ask you to unlock your device, but they cannot compel you to do so without a warrant.

      • Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

        Exactly, police officers are very keen on using specific words to compel you to comply to their whim. Phrases such as: it would look better for you if you help us out…those little things to get into your head…

        Ask any lawyer they will tell you…they only thing you are helping is helping them build a case against you…

        • bluline says:

          If you are under investigation of any sort, never, ever, EVER answer questions from a police officer without the advice of an attorney. The police are NOT your friends, they are allowed to lie through their teeth to extract information from you (while it is illegal for you to lie to them), and their only goal is to gain evidence to strengthen their case against you.

        • bluline says:

          If you are under investigation of any sort, never, ever, EVER answer questions from a police officer without the advice of an attorney. The police are NOT your friends, they are allowed to lie through their teeth to extract information from you (while it is illegal for you to lie to them), and their only goal is to gain evidence to strengthen their case against you.

    • Scuba Steve says:

      If its a simple password they can get past it. Not that they would go through all the trouble, but its possible.

    • Razor512 says:

      on pretty much all phones, the password lock does not encrypt all of the data so all info can be recovered even without the password, it just takes a longer time.

      If you want true security, use truecrypt or any other program that does a strong aes encryption. then use a password. even if the contents of your devices are copied, they will never be able to crack it with current technology.

      Also you are not required to give incriminating evidence so they cant demand a password.

      If I travel, I will never bring a device that does not have all data encrypted. especially when you have a laptop with a lot of personal company information, as well as info held under a strict NDA which could cost the company millions if it were to ever be leaked before a release date. (especially data on items not yet patented)

      I will never trust a minimum wage tsa worker who only has to gain from helping them self company information.

      • uber_mensch says:

        I would suggest all Smart Phone users get the application lock.
        It prevents users who have gained access to your phone from launching any apps that you have locked.
        Search for App Lock.

  3. ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

    Set a password or encrypt your data. You still have a right against self-incrimination (For a little while longer at least- the TSA’s been working on that), and you also gain the plausible deniability of, “Oops, so sorry, I forgot the password.”

    • c!tizen says:

      “”Oops, so sorry, I forgot the password.””

      or “blow me, you can’t have it”.

      • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

        Actually, the ACLU recommends something along the lines of, “At this time I invoke my rights to remain silent and consult an attorney.”

        • c!tizen says:

          Yeah, ok… I can jive with that. Same message, different delivery.

          • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

            Actually no- the Supremes (And I’m not talking about the people who made nifty music in the sixties) recently ruled that you have to specifically invoke your right to remain silent or you don’t have it. It was another 5-4 “originalist” decision by the Roberts court. Of the course, the people on the bench who still have brains in their noggins pointed out in the minority that speaking to remain silent is a stupid concept.

            • c!tizen says:

              good stuff, didn’t know this.

            • partofme says:

              Well, it’s a little more complicated than that. The problem is that if you remain silent for a really long time and then talk, can those words be used against you? SCOTUS said yes. The key is that if you claim your right to silence due to the possibility of self-incrimination, they have to stop interrogating you and something you say immediately following is inadmissible. The argument the defense used was that “staying silent for a really long time” was an implied invocation of the right… making the talk they did later inadmissible. It’s actually kind of a bad question to start out with, but their answer has definitely been mangled by the media.

        • Tim says:

          Exactly. Saying you forgot the password, when you didn’t, would be perjury.

          • c!tizen says:

            that’s what the good old 5th is for.

          • camman68 says:

            It’s only “perjury” if you are under oath.

            • JiminyChristmas says:

              Correct but, depending on the circumstances, there are other criminal penalties associated with making a false or deliberately misleading statement to police. I’m sure there is a broad variety of such statutes at the state level but they all fall under the general concept of obstruction of justice.

              In any case, you are better off refusing to answer questions at all rather than making something up like “I forgot my password.”

          • uber_mensch says:

            Tell that to Ollie North.
            “Senator, I don’t recall..”

    • kc2idf says:

      Some devices also have a distress password. Some Blackberry models, specifically, will send a distress message to a corporate administrator if the password is entered backwards. I would like to see a phone that would nuke its memory if the password were entered backwards, while maintaining the contents in encrypted form so that a simple offline memory dump wouldn’t yield anything, either.

      • NatalieErin says:

        I don’t mean to be that guy, but do you have a cite for that? There is an identical (false) story about ATMs.

        • selianth says:

          I don’t know about phones or ATMs, but where I used to work, the security system panel had a panic code. All us receptionists and facilities folks were informed. Going right down the middle of the the pad – 2 5 8 0 – would to tell the system to act as if the alarm/panel had been disarmed but would also call the cops

      • foofish says:

        I spent a thousand years as a BlackBerry tech, and.. no.

  4. c!tizen says:

    Wow. Judges like this should be removed from their position and consequently back handed by every citizen in their (previous) respective jurisdiction.

  5. NotATool says:

    Which brings up a very interesting point — the cops can search voicemail messages, which are typically not even kept on your phone. Therefore, can they search anything your phone can connect to, such as e-mail, facebook, etc. without a warrant? Good reason to password protect your phone and everything on it.

    • MikeB says:

      And what about the email that isn’t stored on the device? Or anything else that you may be connected to online?

  6. sirwired says:

    Hmmm… if the defendant was carrying a folder full of incriminating printed messages, the search would be allowed as part of the arrest without a quibble. I don’t see how the incriminating data being on a phone would make it magically inadmissible while printed messages would be allowed.

    There are protections against capricious arrest, and that makes the whole bit pass constitutional muster.

    • danic512 says:

      If you’re carrying a locked suitcase they must have a warrent to search it. I’m not sure how a cellphone is much different.

      • partofme says:

        I’m fairly certain that a suitcase or briefcase does not have to be locked. They can perform a brief search for weapons, but they can’t methodically go through information contained on documents inside without a warrant. It is unlikely this ruling will survive appeal.

    • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

      Voicemail isn’t stored on the phone, as has been pointed out. They can’t arrest you in Ohio and automatically have the right to search your vacation home in Hawaii.

      • DD_838 says:

        Actually my voice mails are stored on my phone. Most devices that use visual voice mail download them to the phone itself. My Google Voice even transcribes them onto the screen.

        • SunnyLea says:

          Yeah, I’d be golden with that, though. Just let ’em try to figure out what “That’s 91 have in black. I paid them with rice thats kinda like hipping John with the motor viewings*” means.

          *Actual text from the first lines of my last transcribed VM.

          • operator207 says:

            Obviously, they would think your selling some new designer Chinese heroin. Also your planning on importing 91 kilos of it too. Your gonna go away for a looong time.

    • c!tizen says:

      Now lets bring that scenario into modern day and say that folder is a notebook computer. They have NO right, without a warrant, to go through your computer just because you have it with you during your arrest. Hopefully this stupidity will die quickly in the SCOTUS, and hopefully with the careers of those judges.

      • Griking says:

        The OP raises a pretty valid question IMO which you didn’t answer. Why is information on your cell phone or PC supposedly off limits while information written in a notebook or journal that they found on you isn’t?

        • c!tizen says:

          because if it’s on a phone or in a computer it has to be accessed and searched for. If you’ve got a piece of paper sitting on your seat that says “I’m a drug dealer” then you deserve to be caught because you’re an idiot. Furthermore, they’d still have to prove that the document is yours, and again, unless you’re an idiot you’re not going to be signing your name to anything incriminating.

          And they can flip through the documents to look for drugs and weapons ONCE YOU’VE BEEN ARRESTED, but that can’t sit there and study them. Any half way decent attorney would get it thrown out if the did.

          If it’s out in the open it’s fair game. If it requires interaction then it should be off limits without a warrant.

          • Griking says:

            Books need to be opened in order to read them. Cell phones need to be turned on. You couldn’t get any information out of either unless you performed each action.

            • Megalomania says:

              The information in a book is fundamentally “there” in a way that digital information is not. The book (or any printed document) contains its static, unchanging information within itself, while the phone is analogous to the key to a lock; by using it, you gain access to dynamic information which may or may not even be on the phone itself.

              My phone is set up to sync with my email account; by gaining possession of it (and unlocking it, but someone else might easily not bother), there is complete access to almost every email I have sent or received in the past 6 years. Unless you really want to make the claim that carrying the cell phone is like carrying 20,000 printed emails with me at all times, are you really going to keep pretending that you don’t think phones and printed documents are different?

              • Psychicsword says:

                Actually the data on a phone is fundamentally there. Your phone stores all of its data locally just like a book is stored but using voltages and binary code. The only difference is if it is passworded at which case it should be considered a secured area and would require a warrant. I personally think that is the only case where a locked house analogy makes sense. A better way of thinking about it is if someone had an unlocked box of letters in their car with them when they get caught. If they have previously rules that something like that is off limits then an unlocked cell phone shouldn’t be searchable. However if the phone is locked it should be considered like a locked storage unit that you happen to be able to fit in your pocket.

    • Megalomania says:

      You have the analogy completely wrong. Being arrested and having your phone searched is not like having a folder of documents searched. It is like being arrested and the police using your keys to open and search your house.

      If the arrest is non-capricious, then they can damn well get a warrant. Until then, they need to settle for patdowns and visual inspection of what they find (if you have the text message open on the screen, I would consider that to not be fair game, but actively investigating the contents is a huge privacy issue)

      • Psychicsword says:

        If it is stored on the device’s physical memory and isn’t locked then it is fair game. The only issue I have is that with smart phones you can access a lot of data that isn’t on the phone its self which should not be accessed with out a warrant.

  7. Azzizzi says:

    I guess “6 4 80” could mean “six pills for $80.” It could also mean that my butt typed it from my back pocket.

  8. ALP5050 says:

    One step closer to a police state.

  9. Red Cat Linux says:

    This sounds like a job for the Supreme Court. I don’t have much sympathy for people nabbed in drug busts, but the implication for anyone getting picked up for any old thing is an uncomfortable thought. Particularly if the celly is your only phone, and a land-line replacement.

    On the other hand, if the guy was nabbed with a DayRunner that had appointments for illegal activity, and prices for buys I wouldn’t think twice about it.

  10. Alvis says:

    But voicemail messages aren’t stored on the phone.

  11. aja175 says:

    Wait, 6 beans for $80? Where is this?

  12. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Exactly as people are already pointing out. Password protect your phone and turn it OFF before handing it over to one of the fatherland officers.

  13. not-gonna-tell-ya says:

    I guess to play devils advocate, what happens if a guy gets arrested for speeding and a subsequent search of his phone shows a picture of his daughter playing in the tub? I know a lot of people that would assume that the police would brush it off as a cute family picture (that many people have), but many would assume that the police would then bust him for child pornography

    • partofme says:

      Worse yet, think of all the ultrasound pictures that are out there of TOTALLY NAKED FETUSES!! If our assumption is “younger is worse” then fetus porn is the worst kind out there.

      • phixional-ninja says:

        This might be the first time in my life that my fear of the potential search results for a term (fetus porn) has outweighed my perverse curiosity.

      • Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

        So, just to make sure we are on the same page. Say the x-ray tech takes a picture of my wife’s does that then constitute mass egg porn? Shouldn’t the x-ray tech be liable for taking the picture..

        • partofme says:

          I hadn’t thought about that… I like it! I actually just came up with this ridiculous idea a while back when I read this article. I was thinking about the ridiculous premises that cops will try to use to prosecute someone for just doing something they don’t like. I posed the question to myself, “What could they possibly prosecute these people with?” Fetus porn was born. Then, it actually becomes an interesting Constitutional question that brings obscenity/censorship issues and life/choice issues together in one hilariously awful test. Considering mass egg porn makes it even more complicated. And Rule 43 makes it all seem almost reasonable!

  14. leprechaunshawn says:

    I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. Part of me wants to say “Who cares? Don’t participate in criminal activity and you’ll never have to worry about this.”

    The other part of me worries about the slippery slope.

    • nutbastard says:

      The problem is that what is and isn’t “criminal” at any point in time has very little to do with what is right and wrong, namely, in this day and age, issues like drug use, gun ownership, gambling, and prostitution.

    • NatalieErin says:

      Participating in criminal activity is not a requirement for being arrested. Believe it or not, people who have done nothing wrong are sometimes arrested because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time, match the description of a suspect, or perhaps even appear to be a suspect due to circumstantial evidence.

      The protections afforded to those being arrested or tried in court are intended to protect the innocent.

      • bluline says:

        If you are under investigation of any sort, never, ever, EVER answer questions from a police officer without the advice of an attorney. The police are NOT your friends, they are allowed to lie through their teeth to extract information from you (while it is illegal for you to lie to them), and their only goal is to gain evidence to strengthen their case against you.

  15. danic512 says:

    “The ruling extends to any data on the phone, including voicemail messages, photos, address book, browsing history, etc. etc.”

    So what about other private data that you’ve accessed on your phone? Company intranets or servers owned and operated by others? Say a couple shares a phone, with multiple accounts on the phone. Are the accounts of the person not involved in the arrest also subject to search?

    This is a crazy violation of privacy rights.

  16. Straspey says:

    As others have mentioned above, the Ohio ruling on this issue is the exact opposite from today’s California ruling.

    This will no doubt be decided by the supreme court, and my guess is that they will view the text messages on a suspects cellphone much the way they do the contents of his or her car – which means they can search it without a warrant
    if it’s in your possession at the time of the arrest.

    I would also guess they will rule that a cell phone which is locked and password protected can only be accessed by way of a search warrant issued by a judge.

    • Tim says:

      I’m not familiar with the Ohio ruling, but if it’s a state court, it’s far from definite that SCOTUS would take it. They could just say it’s okay that California operates that way and Ohio does its own thing. The California ruling only applies to police working for California, not for the federal government.

      • humphrmi says:

        It’s a pretty good bet that SCOTUS will take a look at it, if it makes it that far. When two states interpret the constitution (in this case the fourth amendment) differently, it’s up to SCOTUS to decide who’s right.

      • Straspey says:

        Very true –

        However, at some point this issue will come up in another state and the opposing parties which each point to either the California or Ohio rulings as precedent to support their side of the case.

        You’re perfectly right about those rulings only applying to state law enforcement at this time – however I suspect there will be so many conflicting ideas about this that SCOTUS will eventually have to make a definitive ruling.

        For example – under what circumstances after your arrest can the police read your texts ?

        After a drug bust ?

        Suspected terrorism ?

        Running a red light ?

        Refusing to show your receipt as you exit Target with a bag full of YOUR property ?

      • ARP says:

        Not entirely. The conservative majority of SCOTUS overuled a state court ruling that would have given their citizens greater constitutional protections- Ohio v. Robinette. Damn those activist judges!

        Also, given the Roberts court makeup, they’re going to apply the California ruling. The Roberts court likes constiutional protections for companies. Actual People? Not so much.

  17. Tim says:

    First of all, you still need to have been arrested. If you prove that the arrest shouldn’t have happened in the first place, then the evidence cannot be used.

    Second of all, this only applies in California, since it was the California Supreme Court.

    Third, how do you define data that’s “on the phone”? Voicemail is never stored on the phone. For my Droid at least, neither is browsing history, the address book, search history, etc. It can be accessed from the phone, yes, but it is not ON the phone.

    • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

      First of all, you still need to have been arrested. If you prove that the arrest shouldn’t have happened in the first place, then the evidence cannot be used.

      See Herring V. United States

      The Roberts court has been turning what we know about our rights on its head. It didn’t overrule Mapp, but give it time. Soon we’ll be the same as any third world country- and we’ll deserve it too.

    • ARP says:

      See also Ohio v. Robinette. Yep, pretty soon under the Roberts court, only major corporations will have rights.

  18. stevied says:

    Whoa there little doggie….

    If my cell phone had access to my banking info …..

    …. and PoPo viewed said banking info, including account #, and determined that I had a large sum of $ ….. which could be a signal of another crime…

    Oh yea, this could turn out bad.

    PoPo has no right to view my bank account without a warrant. So PoPo uses my cell phone to gain access to the information? Not good.

    What about that website that I visited? Back in the day I thought I was trying for the White House and landed on something else. What if I was actually searching for a girl scout troop for my youngest daughter and landed on “younggirlsdoingscouting” ? That one is going to give me some problems.

    Bottom line, beyond the most extreme of emergencies, the search of any electronic device should be reserved until legal cause is found to continue with the search. The same standards apply to my home, my car (with the exception of the car being located on public road or property other than my own), or the computer files in my business.

    • Hoot says:

      Why do you refer to the police like you would refer to a small dog? It sounds ridiculous.

      Even “The PoPo” would be a little bit better.

  19. Dizzysoul says:

    Can we please toss out every Judge in the California Supreme Courts? I feel like I’m reading two stories a month about how they make rulings grossly against the U.S Constitution. SCOTUS is increasingly becoming the only line of defense against the erosion of american freedoms, which means the lesser courts are not doing their jobs.

    “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

    Cell Phones are used as keys to access to the user’s personal information, which is other wise encrypted and/or password protected. A cop cannot arrest you in your car and use your keys to search your entire house. Likewise, a cop should not be able to use your phone as a key to access all of your personal information.

    • Greely says:

      I would rather just boot California out of the union. I’m sure their little utopia would be fine.

      • kabamm says:

        Really? Our fifth largest economy in the world will be *just fine* without you.

        • Greely says:

          Sweet. Start writing your federal representatives; I’ll do the same and we can get this ball rolling!

          You do realize that the rest of the country has to pay for California’s fiscal irresponsibility and irrationality, right? It would give me no greater pleasure than to see the tax dollars I pay not be sucked into the black hole that is your state.

          If you’d quit stealing my money and stop creating ass backwards precedents, I would stop caring about all the dumb crap your government pulls. You can’t even consistently provide electricity to your entire population. And your “fifth largest economy” is so messed up your de facto minimum wage is in the double digits.

          If exile is too harsh though, I am happy to suggest breaking California up into three separate states. It wouldn’t fix your court system, but it would minimize your ability to grift funds from the federal government.

          • kabamm says:

            That’s absurd. The fact is that California sends more tax dollars to Washington than the benefits it receives. We’re probably supporting you.

      • webweazel says:

        Ahhhh, California. The land of the fruits and nuts. I think residents of Cali don’t even recognize there’s more states in this country east of them, nor a Federal government, (unless they want $$$$) just the sovereign country of Cali. Wonder when they’ll find their King and Queen.

        They do some really strange stuff out there. Why Florida got it’s own FARK tag and Cali didn’t I still don’t quite get.

  20. There's room to move as a fry cook says:

    Whatever happened to that guy who’s computer was seized by customs? The gov’t thought it had porn on it but the computer was encrypted and they wanted to force him to give the password?

  21. mcgyver210 says:

    All I know is I have multiple PWs & encryption along with wipe after 2 wrong attempts & remote wipe & I will not give anyone help invading my privacy.

    The Constitution is being weakened & trampled on everyday by a out of control socialist dictatorship that calls itself the government. If things keep going the way they are there will be a revolt as there as been in Americas past.


    • Greely says:

      Unfortunately, I doubt things will ever bottom out to the point that we have some sort of revolt. There is also the issue of a lack of civilian access to modern military technology. Air superiority is a bitch.

      • Skyhawk says:

        I’d hope that the military would uphold their oath more than elected politicians and be on the right side.

  22. duxup says:

    Nobody ever texts me….

    Take that coppers!

  23. Bby says:

    Umm, instead of bellowing about your rights….

    …how about you don’t do stupid ass stuff and get arrested?

  24. SG-Cleve says:

    This only applies in California.

    Other states have different rules. For example the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled the exact opposite, saying that the police need a warrant to search your phone.

  25. gman863 says:

    Too bad Jerry Brown was just sworn in. Had this ruling been issued two weeks earlier I can almost hear the statement coming out of the Governor’s Office:

    Youh privacy right haz been erashed.

  26. APCO25guy says:

    no shocker here. It is against the law to fart in public in California.

    This decision is garbage, and could easily be struck down in a higher court on a constitutionality basis- wait a minute, do we still have a constitution or did the new republican congress complete desecrate what was left of that today? oh well…

  27. Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

    Thank God the courts do not make the laws…sometimes people forget they are supposed to be interpreting the laws not creating or enforcing them…

  28. dolemite says:

    From what I’ve learned from the news: Cali courts seem to be really pro-government, and anti-rights/anti-privacy for citizens.

    Police can arrest you for just about anything. Then they can search your cellphone for whatever they wish….yeah.

  29. jonspoke says:

    I sure do hope this decision is overturned. The Fourth Amendment is a big deal.

    I bet this will increase demand for on the fly phone wipe apps.

  30. The Wyrm says:

    So… if you’re carrying a laptop and are arrested, do the police get to access all data on the laptop too? After all, “You could make phone calls with the laptop, so it’s a phone.” Scary stuff.

  31. physics2010 says:

    In the UK not providing your password is an offense.

  32. massageon says:

    This is completely ridiculous! That is personal property, and they should need a warrant to be allowed to go through your phone. I LIVE on my phone, and do everything through there. I would NOT want anyone going through it. This is an invasion of our basic privacy!