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Cell phone privacy laws when dealing with police might be changing

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Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Cell phones are attached at our hips and filled with some of our most personal information. Many things we wouldn't want other people to see.

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The Supreme Court is taking up two drug cases that could change cell phone privacy laws when it comes to police procedures after arrests.

Imagine leaving home without your phone. Crazy huh?

Now think about someone asking you to hand it over.

Back in the day, most people kept their skeletons in the closest, but in this digital age these devices can be home to some pretty dirty laundry.

When it comes to cell phone privacy...

Mitch Lee/ NDSU Freshman: "I'm linked right to Facebook and stuff and I have social security numbers on there so that's no good"

The confusion lies in the litigation specifically when police can search through them after arrests without a search warrant.

Lt. Joel Vettel/ Fargo Police: "The courts have given us those rights."

Right now it varies on location- Fargo police can...

Vettel: "Certainly drug cases, those dealing with luring types of cases."

Over in Moorhead, they need a warrant.

Lee: "They don't have probable cause."

So to clear things up, the Supreme Court is now making the final call.

Vettel: "Really we haven't had a solid answer."

And even when the high courts speak, when it comes to cell phones, unless you have something to hide, why worry.

Fargo police say even though they're not required to obtain a search warrant to go through phones after arrests, they usually do anyway.

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Kay Cooley
Kay Cooley came to WDAY 6 News in September of 2012. She was born in a suburb of Chicago then made her home in Hershey, PA. Kay graduated from Northwestern University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism. At Northwestern, Kay was a member of the Division I Women’s Swim Team and a reporter for the Northwestern News Network on campus. Before coming to WDAY, Kay was working for KVRR in Fargo and interned at ABC27 in Harrisburg, PA. When she’s not out in the field reporting, Kay enjoys being active and spending time with friends and family. If you have story ideas, questions or just want to say hello, feel free to email Kay at kcooley@wday.com.
(701) 241-5330
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