Wednesday, December 30, 2009

McIntyre on Search Warrants

TJ McIntyre has an excellent post about the Law Reform Commission's consultation paper on search warrants. I'm not an expert on privacy law but remember reading about a landmark case in the US a couple of weeks ago on search warrants for cell phones, and wondered whether cell phones would be covered by the proposed changes in Ireland. The Ohio Supreme Court had ruled that a warrant was needed to search a cell phone. From the NYT:
The Ohio Supreme Court ruled this month, by a 4-to-3 vote, that the search violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Rather than seeing a cellphone as a simple closed container, the majority noted that modern cellphones — especially ones that permit Internet access — are “capable of storing a wealth of digitized information.”

This is information, the court said, for which people reasonably have a high expectation of privacy, and under established Fourth Amendment principles, police officers must get a search warrant before they can look through call logs or examine other data.
Perhaps some Irish experts on privacy law can chime in about the position here.