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Supreme Court limits cell phone searches

Angelo Merendino/Corbis via Getty Images

Police officers cannot retrace the location of your cell phone without a warrant, the Supreme Court ruled today — a narrow but critically important victory for privacy advocates as well as giant tech companies.

Why it matters: The court’s precedents have allowed a relatively broad range of warrantless searches, but Silicon Valley warned that if those “analog” rules were applied to modern smartphones, hardly anything we do would ever be private again. And they won.