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Court May Review Cellphone Privacy

Publication Date: 
October 14, 2013
San Diego Union-Tribune
Kristina Davis

The San Diego Union-Tribune discusses a case being brought before the Supreme Court by Stanford Law Professor Jeffrey Fisher and Stanford Law's Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. 

If you're arrested, does that give police officers the right to look through your cellphone? If you're in California, you bet. But not so in Ohio or Florida.

The laws surrounding warrantless cellphone searches by police are far from clear-cut in our fast-evolving digital age. The issue has divided courts across the nation, doing little to resolve the conflict that continues to grow as we carry more and more personal information in our smartphones.


Stanford Law School professor Jeffrey Fisher, one of the country's leading Supreme Court litigators, has taken on the case, and the issue's far-reaching implications make it closely watched among defense lawyers, law enforcement and privacy advocates.


"Smartphones are now the central repository for private information in our personal lives," said Fisher, who is working the case with students at Stanford's Supreme Court Litigation Clinic. "The degree of privacy we have over that vast store of information — everything from private personal conversations, photos, videos to work emails and confidential financial documents — is a critical question for the populous."

And Fisher argues that Riley's case is the perfect vehicle for the issue to be decided on.