The internets

Two items relevant to the internet, privacy, and the Fourth Amendment.  Orwell would be . . .

Orin S. Kerr, Applying the Fourth Amendment to the Internet:  A General Approach, 62(4) STANFORD L. REV. 1005 (2010).

This Article proposes a general approach to applying the Fourth Amendment to the Internet. It assumes that courts will try to apply the Fourth Amendment to the Internet so that the Fourth Amendment has the same basic function online that it has offline. The Article reaches two major conclusions. First, Fourth Amendment protections online should depend on whether the data is content or non-content information. The contents of communications, like e-mail and remotely stored files, ordinarily should be protected. On the other hand, non-content information, such as IP addresses and e-mail addresses, ordinarily should not be protected. Second, courts should ordinarily require a search warrant if the government seeks to obtain the contents of protected Internet communications. Further, the scope of warrants should be based on individual users rather than individual accounts.

Hat tip/CrimProfBlog.

Daniel J. Solove, Digital Dossiers and the Dissipation of Fourth Amendment Privacy, 75 S. Cal. L. Rev. 1083 (2010).

In the Information Age, an increasing amount of personal information is contained in records maintained by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), phone companies, cable companies, merchants, bookstores, website, hotels, landlords, employers and private sector entities. Many private sector entities are beginning to aggregate the information in these records to create extensive digital dossiers.

The data in these digital dossiers increasingly flows from the private sector to the government, particularly for law enforcement use. Law enforcement agencies have long sought personal information about individuals from various third parties to investigate fraud, white-collar crime, drug trafficking, computer crime, child pornography, and other types of criminal activity. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the impetus for the government to gather personal information has greatly increased, since such data can be useful to track down terrorists and to profile airline passengers for more thorough searches. Detailed records of an individual’s reading materials, purchases, diseases, and website activity enable the government to assemble a profile of an individual’s finances, health, psychology, beliefs, politics, interests, and lifestyle. This data can unveil a person’s anonymous speech and personal associations.

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