World

Canadian high court says police have limited right to search a suspect's cellphone

FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2014 file photo, people walk outside the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario.  Canadian police can conduct a limited search of a suspect's mobile phone when they are arrested without getting a search warrant, but they must follow strict rules, a divided Supreme Court of Canada ruled Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. In a 4-3 decision, Canada's top court said the search must be directly related to the circumstances of a person's arrest and police must keep detailed records of the search. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)

FILE - In this Oct. 15, 2014 file photo, people walk outside the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario. Canadian police can conduct a limited search of a suspect's mobile phone when they are arrested without getting a search warrant, but they must follow strict rules, a divided Supreme Court of Canada ruled Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. In a 4-3 decision, Canada's top court said the search must be directly related to the circumstances of a person's arrest and police must keep detailed records of the search. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)  (The Associated Press)

A divided Supreme Court of Canada says police can conduct a limited search of a suspect's cellphone when they are arrested without getting a search warrant, but they must follow strict rules.

In its precedent-setting, 4-3 ruling, the country's top court said Thursday that the search must be directly related to the circumstances of a person's arrest and the police must keep detailed records of the search.

Three dissenting justices said the police must get a search warrant in all cases except in rare instances where there is a danger to the public or the police, or if evidence could be destroyed.

It is the first time the Supreme Court has ruled on cellphone privacy, an issue that has spawned a series of divergent lower court rulings.