ACLU statement on Riley v. California Supreme Court decision

constitutionAmerican Civil Liberties Union of Virginia Executive Director Claire Guthrie Gastañaga issued a statement today in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Riley v. California:

“In today’s ruling, which protects our most private information from warrantless invasion by police, the U.S. Supreme Court moved us toward a 21st century understanding of privacy.

Our cell phones can reveal who our friends are, our web browsing history, our emails, our photographs, and a wealth of other highly personal information. As the Supreme Court recognized, police should not be able to peruse such information without a warrant.

The ‘search incident to arrest’ doctrine is meant to ensure that people under arrest are not armed and are not able to destroy evidence. As the Supreme Court recognized, neither of these rationales justifies searching the contents of a cell phone without a warrant.

We look forward to working with the General Assembly to codify this protection into Virginia law and to ensure that the privacy of Virginians is protected regardless of what new technologies are deployed by the government.”

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