Calif. Court Requires Warrant to Search Phones

Privacy rights groups say the new law should be repeated at the federal level.

California police must receive a court order before they can search cellphone data after a law was passed October 8.

The California Electronic Communications Privacy Act, or CalECPA, requires the warrant before police search messages, email, photo and other data stored on cell phones and company servers, according to NBC News.

Digital rights groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Adobe lobbied for the bill, which they say is necessary to protect digital privacy.

Many of the bill’s supporters called existing privacy laws outdated and called for similar protections at the national level.

“For too long, California’s digital privacy laws have been stuck in the Dark Ages, leaving our personal emails, text messages, photos and smartphones increasingly vulnerable to warrantless searches,” said Co-sponsor Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco.

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