Eighty-three percent of American “voters believe police should get a warrant before searching personal information on someone’s cell phone,” Microsoft General Counsel Brand Smith notes in a post on Digital Constitution.
The survey conducted by the research firm, Anzalone Liszt Grove, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion in Riley v. California, also reveals that 86 percent of respondents “believe police should have to follow the same legal requirements for obtaining personal information in the cloud as they do for personal information stored on paper.” In Riley, the high court found that police need warrants to search mobile devices of people they arrest.
Smith says that while the Riley decision can be viewed as a “historic first step,” it only addresses “one of many questions that the growth of technology is posing for our privacy laws. We’ve raised another unresolved question in a case in federal court in New York in which we’re challenging a search warrant seeking customer communications stored in our data center in Ireland.”
He continued that Microsoft believes it is a “problem for governments to use a warrant to reach across international borders and search a person’s email without respecting local privacy laws.” Smith then cites the survey that says a majority of Americans agree.
Seventy-nine percent of those polled believe the “federal government should have to respect local privacy laws when searching through people’s personal information like their email accounts.” Moreover, the survey found 56 percent of respondents are “worried” that if the federal government demands “information in other countries without going through their governments, then other countries will follow suit and force companies to turn over Americans’ private information.”
Smith concludes that the polling, all of which is available here, “suggests” Americans understand “what’s at stake for technology and the future of privacy.”