Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie

EFF and the Center for Democracy and Technology ("CDT") have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to crack down on warrantless searches of cell phones, arguing in two cases before the court that changing technology demands new guidelines for when the data on someone’s phone can be accessed and reviewed by investigators. 

The amicus briefs were filed in Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie.  In both cases, after arresting a suspect, law enforcement officers searched the arrestee’s cell phone without obtaining a warrant from a judge.  Historically, police have been allowed some searches “incident to arrest” in order to protect officers’ safety and preserve evidence.  However, EFF and CDT argue that once a cell phone has been seized, the police need a search warrant to search the data on the phone.

In June 2014, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the search incident to arrest exception does not extend to a cell phone and that police need to get a search warrant in order to search an arrestee's phone after arrest.

Case status: 

Stay in Touch

NSA Spying

EFF is leading the fight against the NSA's illegal mass surveillance program. Learn more about what the program is, how it works, and what you can do.

Follow EFF

Americans targeted by state-sponsored malware
have the right to hold their attackers accountable, EFF tells court:

Oct 25 @ 11:00am

Report: law enforcement in 26 states use facial recognition in combination with driver license and ID photos.

Oct 25 @ 10:16am

Install EFF's plug-in Privacy Badger to protect your online browsing from invasive third-party trackers

Oct 25 @ 9:43am
JavaScript license information