Vol. 38 No. 1 (2019): The University of Queensland Law Journal

Examining the Legitimacy of Police Powers to Search Portable Electronic Devices in Queensland

Published 2019-10-24


This article examines the legitimacy of existing Queensland police powers to conduct a physical search of a detained person’s mobile phone. The core argument advanced is that, on a spectrum of property capable of being searched, a mobile phone should be considered more akin to a person’s private home than their handbag or wallet. The article highlights the hazards of police searches of mobile phones that are conducted in the absence of an adequate framework of legal control and judicial oversight, and it recommends greater legal safeguards to govern existing police powers to search mobile phones.