Read the story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By Electronic Frontier Foundation (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:

EFF to Ninth Circuit: Abandoning a Phone Should Not Mean Abandoning Its Contents

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.

This post was written by EFF legal intern Danya Hajjaji.

Law enforcement should be required to obtain a warrant to search data contained in abandoned cell phones, EFF and others explained in a friend-of-the-court brief to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case, United States v. Hunt, involves law enforcement’s seizure and search of an iPhone the defendant left behind after being shot and taken to the hospital. The district court held that the iPhone’s physical abandonment meant that the defendant also abandoned the data stored on the phone. In support of the defendant’s appeal, we urged the Ninth Circuit to reverse the district court’s ruling and hold that the Fourth Amendment’s abandonment exception does not apply to cell phones: as it must in other circumstances, law enforcement should generally have to obtain a warrant before it searches someone’s cell phone.

Cell phones differ significantly from other physical property. They are pocket-sized troves of highly sensitive information with immense storage capacity. Today’s phone carries and collects vast and varied data that encapsulates a user’s daily life and innermost thoughts.

Courts—including the US Supreme Court—have recognized that cell phones contain the “sum of an individual’s private life.” And, because of this recognition, law enforcement must generally obtain a warrant before it can search someone’s phone.

While people routinely carry cell phones, they also often lose them. That should not mean losing the data contained on the phones.

While the Fourth Amendment’s ”abandonment doctrine” permits law enforcement to conduct a warrantless seizure or search of an abandoned item, EFF’s brief explains that this precedent does not mechanically apply to cell phones. As the Supreme Court has recognized multiple times, the rote application of case law from prior eras with less invasive and revealing technologies threatens our Fourth Amendment protections.

Our brief goes on to explain that a cell phone owner rarely (if ever) intentionally relinquishes their expectation of privacy and possessory interests in data on their cell phones, as they must for the abandonment doctrine to apply. The realities of the modern cell phone seldom infer a purpose to discard the wealth of data they contain. Cell phone data is not usually confined to the phone itself, and is instead stored in the “cloud” and accessible across multiple devices (such as laptops, tablets, and smartwatches).

We hope the Ninth Circuit recognizes that expanding the abandonment doctrine in the manner envisioned by the district court in Hunt would make today’s cell phone an accessory to the erosion of Fourth Amendment rights.


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Nootropic

Mushrooms are having a moment. One fabulous fungus in particular, lion’s mane, may help improve memory, depression and anxiety symptoms. They are also an excellent source of nutrients that show promise as a therapy for dementia, and other neurodegenerative diseases. If you’re living with anxiety or depression, you may be curious about all the therapy options out there — including the natural ones.Our Lion’s Mane WHOLE MIND Nootropic Blend has been formulated to utilize the potency of Lion’s mane but also include the benefits of four other Highly Beneficial Mushrooms. Synergistically, they work together to Build your health through improving cognitive function and immunity regardless of your age. Our Nootropic not only improves your Cognitive Function and Activates your Immune System, But it benefits growth of Essential Gut Flora, further enhancing your Vitality.

Our Formula includes: Lion’s Mane Mushrooms which Increase Brain Power through nerve growth, lessen anxiety, reduce depression, and improve concentration. Its an excellent adaptogen, promotes sleep and improves immunity.

Shiitake Mushrooms which Fight cancer cells and infectious disease, boost the immune system, promotes brain function, and serves as a source of B vitamins.

Maitake Mushrooms which regulate blood sugar levels of diabetics, reduce hypertension and boosts the immune system.

Reishi Mushrooms which Fight inflammation, liver disease, fatigue, tumor growth and cancer. They Improve skin disorders and soothes digestive problems, stomach ulcers and leaky gut syndrome.

Chaga Mushrooms which have anti-aging effects, boost immune function, improve stamina and athletic performance, even act as a natural aphrodisiac, fighting diabetes and improving liver function.

Try Our Lion’s Mane WHOLE MIND Nootropic Blend 60 Capsules Today. Be 100% Satisfied or Receive a Full Money Back Guarantee. Order Yours Today by Following This Link.

Report abuse


    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    Load more ...




    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.