Tag: Fourth Amendment

June 12, 2017

The “Third Party” Catch-22

As the Department of Justice has been doubling down on law enforcement overreach, the Supreme Court has just decided to hear a case that may limit the use of a common tool that law enforcement uses to infringe upon the privacy rights of innocent people. The case, Carpenter v. United States, arises out of a… Read More

May 18, 2015

Cell Tower Location Data Privacy Decision Reversed

Last July, we reported on United States v. Davis, an Eleventh Circuit decision in favor of privacy rights. In that case, a three-judge panel held that cell phone users have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their cell phone location data. If the government wants to collect the data, it must first obtain a probable-cause… Read More

May 11, 2015

Laptops, Border Checks and The Fourth Amendment

Photo: “LAX-International-checkin” by TimBray at en.wikipedia.   Developments in law are sluggish compared to the rapid rate of technological advancement, and courts must constantly apply old legal principles to technologies which were not contemplated at the time the laws were enacted.   Recently, technology has been at the forefront of privacy rights debates, in light of… Read More

December 1, 2014

Remote Search Warrants and the Continued Threat to Privacy Rights

What were you doing Wednesday, November 5, 2014? If you are a staunch Republican, you might have been toasting the election results from the day before, dreamy-eyed and dancing. If you are a staunch Democrat, you might have been scratching your head profusely, thunderstruck and quiet. People across the country were talking politics and policy… Read More

October 8, 2013

Appeals Court: Forced Rectal Search of Suspect Violates 4th Amendment

In a recent opinion, the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit addressed whether it was constitutionally reasonable for police to use a doctor – in this case, a doctor “who is known to conduct unconsented intrusive procedures when suspects are presented by the police” – to forcibly recover drugs from a man’s rectum…. Read More

September 13, 2013

FBI Hacking Into Electronic Devices: An Effective But Invasive Tool

Privacy and national security interests are notoriously tricky to balance.  Lean too far one way, and you lose an important tool in preventing and detecting crime; lean too far the other way, and you are depriving Americans of their liberty through persistent government intrusion and observation. This balancing act has been an especially hot topic… Read More

August 22, 2013

Circuit Split Brewing Over Government Access to Cell Phone Location Data

A split among the U.S. courts of appeals is taking shape over the threshold requirements for the government’s ability to obtain historical cell phone location data, in the wake of a July 30, 2013, ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. That court held that a U.S. district court must order… Read More

May 24, 2013

A Legislative Solution to Prosecutors’ Tracking of Suspects Via Their Devices?

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the landmark 1966 case of Miranda v. Arizona underlined the importance of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments and drew a line that law enforcement must not cross – all in the interest of protecting individuals’ constitutional rights. Unfortunately, however, the high court was not as clear regarding the level… Read More

April 19, 2013

Court to Rule on Exceptions to Warrant Requirement for GPS Tracking

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit is set to become the first federal appellate court to answer the question left open by the Supreme Court in United States v. Jones. Last year, the Court held in Jones that a Fourth Amendment “search” occurs, and a warrant is required, when a GPS tracking… Read More

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