The Supreme Court has said it will weigh in on whether or not police should be allowed to search cell phones without a warrant. The justices will consider a pair of cases that present different perspectives on whether the practice of looking through a suspect's phone without court permission is a violation of the Fourth Amendment.

"Today, many Americans store their most personal ‘papers’ and ‘effects’ in electronic format, on a cellphone, carried on the person,” wrote Judge Norman H. Stahl on behalf of the court.

“That information is, by and large, of a highly personal nature: photographs, videos, written and audio messages (text, email, and voice mail), contacts, calendar appointments, web search and browsing history, purchases, and financial and medical records,” he continued.

U.S. courts have long been divided on the matter, with digital rights presenting complex issues requiring new precedents to be set. While warantless arrest-related searches are largely permitted, there is case for arguing that cell phone data, by nature of its wide scope, represents an unreasonable search.

Hearing dates have yet to be scheduled, but suffice it to say the outcomes will be incredibly important.

[via New York Times]