Privacy Law Blog

Tag Archives: Fourth Amendment

Tales from the (Quantum) Crypt

The dream of hack-proof communication just got a little closer to reality. On August 16, 2016, China launched the world’s first “quantum satellite,” a project the Chinese government hopes will enable it to build a communication system incapable of being hacked. Such a system, if perfected, would allow for encrypted communications between any two devices … Continue Reading

California Gives the Fourth Amendment a 21st Century Makeover

The average American today generates more media than they did at any other point in history, and the ease with which our communications, photos, and videos are sent and stored digitally means most of us have more media stored in the cloud or on a single digital device than previous generations would have created in … Continue Reading

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

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 Question about Quon: U.S. Supreme Court Unanimous in Overturning Ninth Circuit

In an important decision for employers, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in a case involving an employee's assertion that a government employer had violated the Fourth Amendment by unreasonably obtaining and reviewing personal text messages sent and received on employer-issued pagers. The decision, a victory for employers, provides helpful guidance for management of electronic communication systems and workplace searches. Read this alert to learn more about the decision and how it may affect you. … Continue Reading

Rehearing En Banc Denied in Quon . . . With Dissent

On Tuesday, the Ninth Circuit denied rehearing en banc in Quon v. Arch Wireless, previously discussed here. The dissent (1) disagrees with the panel's conclusion that the SWAT team members had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the text messages on the grounds that the decision undermines the standard established by the Supreme Court in O'Connor v. Ortega, 480 U.S. 709 (1987); and (2) finds that the method used by the panel to determine whether the search was reasonable conflicts with Supreme Court precedent holding that the Fourth Amendment does not require the government to use the "least intrusive means" when conducting a "special needs" search. The dissent can be found here. Judge Wardlaw's concurrence in the denial of rehearing en banc can be found here. We will keep you posted on this one. … Continue Reading

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

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

The Sixth Circuit Affirms Individual Expectation of Privacy in Emails

In a decision that will significantly impact the ability of the government to access electronic communications, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on June 18, 2007, affirmed a district court’s issuance of a preliminary injunction prohibiting governmental entities from obtaining Internet Service Providers’ (“ISP”) subscribers’ e-mail communications unless the subscriber first … Continue Reading

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

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
LexBlog