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Privacy Law Blog

Category Archives: Fourth Amendment

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Landmark Supreme Court Ruling Protects Cell Phones from Warrantless Searches

Posted in Fourth Amendment

Special thanks to Tiffany Quach, 2014 summer associate, for her assistance in preparing this post. On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that police must first obtain a warrant before searching the cell phones of arrested individuals, except in “exigent circumstances.” Chief Justice John Roberts authored the opinion, which held that an individual’s… Continue Reading

Standing on the Precipice: Privacy Litigation and Standing Requirements

Posted in Data Breaches, Fourth Amendment, Identity Theft, Privacy Litigation

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments last month in Clapper v. Amnesty International, a case that asks the Court to determine whether a group of lawyers, journalists, and human rights workers have standing to challenge the federal government’s international electronic surveillance program under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.  The plaintiffs alleged Fourth Amendment privacy violations among… Continue Reading

California Supreme Court: Law Enforcement Officials May Search Cellular Phones Incident To Arrest

Posted in Fourth Amendment

On Monday, the California Supreme Court ruled that the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution did not prohibit a deputy sheriff from conducting a warrantless, post-arrest search of the text messages of an arrestee. Specifically, the Court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal that the cell phone was “immediately associated with [defendant’s] person… Continue Reading

No Doubt No Reasonable Suspicion Required — Laptops Now Fair Game at the Border

Posted in Fourth Amendment

My very first blog post addressed a precedent-setting decision of the Central District of California holding that federal agents could not conduct a border search of the private and personal information stored on a traveler’s computer hard drive or electronic storage devices without reasonable suspicion. Eighteen months later, the Ninth Circuit has squarely reversed that decision. In a short opinion filed April 21, 2008, Judge O’Scannlain wrote in U.S. v. Arnold, No. 06-50581, that “reasonable suspicion is not needed for customs officials to search a laptop or other personal electronic storage devices at the border.” As far as the Ninth Circuit is concerned, for purposes of border searches under the Fourth Amendment, laptops and other electronic storage devices are not so much like a home or the human mind – they are more akin to luggage or a car.

Ninth Circuit Applies Pen Register and Mail Principles to Warrantless Monitoring of Internet Traffic

Posted in Fourth Amendment, Online Privacy

In a novel case, the Ninth Circuit ruled on July 6, as amended July 25, that government surveillance of Internet Protocol (“IP”) addresses visited, to/from addresses of emails, and the total volume of information sent to or from an email account does not violate the Fourth Amendment. United States v. Forrester, No. 05-50410, — F.3d —… Continue Reading

Expectation of Privacy in Student Computer Persists in the Absence of Announced Monitoring Policy

Posted in Fourth Amendment

Last week, a panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that in the absence of an announced monitoring policy, the mere act of connecting a computer to a network does not extinguish a user’s reasonable expectation of privacy, under the Fourth Amendment, in the contents of his or her computer. The panel announced its… Continue Reading

Welcome To The California Privacy Law Blog

Posted in Fourth Amendment

Welcome to the LACBA California Privacy Law blog. This blog will provide a forum for summary and discussion of recent developments in California privacy law. California was the first state in the nation to require operators of commercial websites or online services to post privacy policies, and was the first state to pass legislation requiring notification to… Continue Reading