The Tech-Savvy Supreme Court

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[Commentary] The two major technology-related decisions handed down by the Supreme Court this week have been widely greeted by people in the tech industry as one win and one loss.

The win involved cellphone privacy: The court, siding with tech policy advocacy groups, ruled that the police must obtain a warrant to search the phones of people they arrest.

The loss was Aereo, the brazen TV streaming start-up. The court ruled against the company, which created a cablelike service without paying broadcast networks for the rights to their content.

But when you examine the rulings, a different conclusion emerges. These were both wins for the industry, because they revealed something that should be quite gratifying for every technologist: The Supreme Court understands technology.

At a broad level, it understands the Internet and how the worldwide network has transformed our understanding of the law. More than that, the justices (aided, surely, by their Snapchatting clerks) seem to understand some of the deeper distinctions between various kinds of tech, distinctions that are vital to how we should regulate the gadgets now infiltrating our lives.

The Tech-Savvy Supreme Court