While this opinion won't really touch on other surveillance programs -- like the aforementioned Hemisphere project -- it could affect them in the long run, according to Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Hanni Fakhoury.

"It's a fantastic opinion both because it creates a bright line rule -- no searches of cell phones incident to arrest -- and because the court recognized the privacy implications of allowing broad digital searches by the government," Fakhoury writes, via e-mail. And as a result, he continues, it might influence other courts as they grapple with the constitutionality of other electronic searches and surveillance, including mass data-gathering by the NSA.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
SF Weekly

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