Lawmakers want to ensure police secure a search warrant before taking your cell phone

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COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – South Carolina lawmakers want to make it clear to law enforcement that access to personal data and information especially on electronic devices like cell phones has to be obtained through the proper channels.

For many of us our whole life is on our cell phone. And as a general rule of thumb, many South Carolina law-enforcement departments obtain a search warrant before seizing electronic devices or the information on it

“Whether it be a computer, cell phone or tablet we would go for a search warrant in order to get any material that is germane to our investigation,” said Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster explaining his department’s policy.

But lawmakers are concerned there are some exceptions to the rule. Representative Todd Rutherford joins two other lawmakers on a bipartisan proposal to strengthen language requiring a search warrant for access to electronic devices.

Representative Rutherford explained, “There are a number that do go that protocol but there are probably some that don’t so we want to make it clear that this is absolutely required. And we’re going to further clarify what you’re getting access to.

The proposal does allow for exceptions for emergency situations like a kidnapping or a life and death situation.

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