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Constitutional Law Litigation Privacy White Collar Crime

Balancing Fourth Amendment Expectations in the Electronic Era

As rapid technological changes in the 21st century continue to expand the types and volume of private electronic information, the Fourth Amendment’s privacy protections are evolving. The critical question in Fourth Amendment cases is whether a person has a “reasonable expectation of privacy in the information or event.”

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As rapid technological changes in the 21st century continue to expand the types and volume of private electronic information, the Fourth Amendment’s privacy protections are evolving. Originally, “Fourth Amendment jurisprudence was tied to common-law trespass” and provided protections against searches of property. See, United States v. Jones, 565 U.S. 400, 405 (2012). For the past 50 years, however, modern Fourth Amendment jurisprudence has focused on protecting “people, not places.” The critical question in Fourth Amendment cases is whether a person has a “reasonable expectation of privacy in the information or event.” Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347, 360 (1967).

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