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Know your rights: Cell phones

According to NBC News, 95 percent of Americans own a cell phone, and people across Kentucky know how integral these devices are in day-to-day life. Carrying so much personal information around in a purse or pocket does come with some protections, and it is important to know and understand a citizen's rights in case of becoming the focus of a criminal investigation.

Many understand that cell phones transmit data relating to the user's location in order to make calls and send texts. Connecting to the nearest cell phone antenna tower in order to use a phone's network is one way that user location data can be tracked. The U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing a case in the fall to determine whether or not law enforcement needs a warrant to access the location data cell phone companies have stored about their customers.  The law does not explicitly state whether or not the information generated from a person's cell phone is considered private.

The court has ruled that the data stored on a person's phone is protected. As CNN explains, the court unanimously ruled that officers cannot search a person's cell phone without first obtaining a search warrant. Although officers are given some leniency in a search when making an arrest without a warrant, they can check a person's vehicle and wallet without a warrant, for example, phones are not included. Until an officer has a search warrant, he or she cannot examine the contents of a person's phone, such as those in the address book, text messages or any photos one might have on the device.

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