No warrant, no problem: How the government can still get your digital data
The [Electronic Communications Privacy Act] also applies to text messages, according to Hanni Fakhoury, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is why the rules are similar to those governing e-mails. But the ECPA doesn't apply when it comes to actually reading texts on someone's phone rather than getting them from a carrier. State courts have split on the issue. Ohio's Supreme Court has ruled that police need a warrant to view the contents of cell phones of people who've been arrested, including texts. But the California Supreme Court has said no warrant is needed. The US Supreme Court in 2010 declined to clear up the matter.