Should a warrant be required to obtain cell phone data?

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Registered: 11-13-2008
Should a warrant be required to obtain cell phone data?
Mon, 11-26-2012 - 12:30pm

According to this article from the NY Times, there seems to be no consistency when it comes to court decision regarding what requires a warrant when it comes to obtaining information that is kept in cellphones:

"The courts are all over the place,” said Hanni Fakhoury, a criminal lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based civil liberties group. “They can’t even agree if there’s a reasonable expectation of privacy in text messages that would trigger Fourth Amendment protection.”

The issue will attract attention on Thursday when a Senate committee considers limited changes to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a 1986 law that regulates how the government can monitor digital communications. Courts have used it to permit warrantless surveillance of certain kinds of cellphone data.

Read the full article at: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/26/technology/legality-of-warrantless-cellphone-searches-goes-to-courts-and-legislatures.html?hpw

I find the arguments pretty interesting on both sides of the debate, some say that the data is owned by the cell phone companies so a warrant shouldn't be required, while others feel that the same laws that appy to computers should apply to cell phones as well.  One of the reader's comment that struck me was that the Post Office isn't allowed to keep a copy of your mail, so why should cell phone companies be allowed to keep all of your data?  

What do you think?