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 holding in United States v. Jerome T. Heckenkamp, Nos. 05-10322 and 05-10323 (9th Cir. April 5, 2007), wherein it upheld the introduction of evidence obtained by University of Wisconsin employees through remote and direct access of a student computer attached to a university network. Although it recognized the defendant’s reasonable expectation of privacy, the panel upheld the lower court’s admission of evidence under the judicially-created “special needs” exception to the Fourth Amendment because the alleged hacking posed an immediate threat to the university network and the searches were not conducted for a law enforcement purpose.