Can employers search their employees’ cell phones? Even though there is a well-established exception for warrantless searches related to lawful arrest, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Riley v. California, found that the search of cell phone data was “unreasonable” and thus unconstitutional based upon the substantial privacy interests at stake when digital data is involved.

In his opinion released last June, Chief Justice Roberts stated that the term ‘cell phone’ “is itself misleading shorthand; many of these devices are, in fact, mini-computers that also have the capacity to be used as a telephone. They could just as easily be called cameras, video players, rolodexes, calendars, tape recorders, libraries, diaries, albums, televisions, maps, or newspapers.”

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