Police Need Warrants Before Searching Mobile Phones, American Survey Says

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23rd July 2014 15:25 - Professional Services

A study, conducted with the American public, has revealed that more than four fifths (83%) of its respondents think the police should have to get a warrant before searching through personal information on someone’s mobile phone.

The survey was carried out following the Supreme Court’s decision in the Riley case last month, which has sparked debate surrounding the rights of mobile phone users.

The poll highlighted a general consensus when it comes to the balance between fighting crime and peoples’ right to privacy, with three quarters (75%) of voters agreeing with Chief Justice Roberts’ statement: “privacy comes at a cost”.

However, around two thirds (67%) believe Americans should not have to give up privacy and freedom for safety from crime and terrorism.

Around five sixths (86%) of respondents think the police should have to follow the same legal protocol when accessing personal information from ‘the cloud’, as they do for obtaining private information enclosed on paper.

Microsoft’s Digital Consultation study also revealed that four fifths (79%) think the federal government should have to respect local privacy laws when searching through people’s personal information, i.e. their email accounts.

Over half (56%) said they were worried that if the US government decides it can request people’s personal information from other countries without going through their governments, then other countries could work off the same principal and demand companies to hand over Americans’ private information.

Just 13% believe that police forces outside of the US should be able to obtain the emails of US citizens stored in the US without informing the country’s government or the citizen in question.

Furthermore, half (50%) of the survey’s participants said they were unaware that the country’s Supreme Court recently issued a unanimous decision requiring that police obtain a warrant before searching personal information on someone’s phone.

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