06.25.14

Comment Of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On The Supreme Court’s Decision In U.S. v. Wurie and Riley v. California

[The Supreme Court Wednesday issued its unanimous judgment in U.S. v. Wurie and Riley v. California.  In its decision, the Court ruled that law enforcement agencies must obtain warrants to search an arrested individual’s cell phone or personal electronic device.]

“The Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Wurie and Riley v. California is a wake-up call that we need to update our laws to keep pace with technological advances.  The Court rightly determined that the government must obtain a search warrant before having unrestricted access to an arrestee’s cell phone -- because our phones can now carry the most intimate details of our lives, including our written communications, travel history, financial information, family photographs, and much more. 

“Just as the government must now obtain a warrant to look through the contents of our cell phones, I believe the same standard should apply when the government wants to look through our emails.  That is why I have authored bipartisan legislation to provide a much needed update to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.  This bill updates our digital privacy laws to keep pace with new technologies, protect civil liberties, and provide guidance to law enforcers.  Congress should act swiftly to pass this bill and bring our privacy laws into the 21st Century.”

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