The issue has been subjected to a number of legal challenges in various parts of the country, with some siding in favour of the need for a court order, and others against.
The issue stems from the fact that the police are allowed to inspect the contents of any item found on a person during an arrest. This has traditionally applied to wallets and bags, but there is confusion about how detailed an inspection can be made of the contents of a mobile phone.
Ordinarily, police would need a court order to inspect the contents of a computer, and smartphones are increasingly computer-like in their performance and in the information stored on them.
Following a number of set-backs, the Federal Government has now petitioned the
The government argues that having a rule that allows some items found on a suspect to be searched, but not others is confusing and complicate police search powers.
Privacy campaigners argue that unlike most personal items carried around, a smartphone can contain vastly more personal information and as such that should be protected from casual browsing by the police.
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