A recent California Supreme Court ruling has made it illegal for police officers to search the contents of a cellphone without first getting a search warrant. This overrules a decision last January which had, according to state Senator Mark Leno, "legalized the warrant-less search of cellphones during an arrest, regardless of whether the information on the phone is relevant to the arrest or if criminal charges are ever filed."
The new law, which the California State Assembly passed unanimously, completely turns the table on police officers' access to your digital data. Whereas your car or your house can be searched on the spot if there is probable cause, it seems that this new law means that if you want to search a cellphone, you need a warrant 100 percent of the time. To boot, it's not just cellphones, the law extends to all "portable electronic devices...capable of creating, receiving, accessing, or storing electronic data or communications."