Megan Crowley is a litigator who represents clients in high-stakes matters, from case inception through trial and appeal. Her practice focuses on complex commercial disputes and litigation under the Administrative Procedure Act. Megan currently represents several leading technology companies in cutting-edge litigation relating to cybersecurity and data privacy.

Megan rejoined Covington from the U.S. Department of Justice, where she defended executive branch agencies in some of their most high-profile cases. Drawing upon this experience, she has secured a number of landmark victories against the federal government in recent years. Megan was a key member of the Covington team that represented TikTok in its successful challenge to the Trump Administration’s efforts to ban the app, and its defense of the district court’s injunction on appeal. She also represented Xiaomi Corporation in its successful challenge to the Department of Defense designation that would have banned the company from U.S. financial markets, securing a preliminary injunction and, ultimately, a rescission of the ban.

Last week, the Ninth Circuit held in United States v. Wilson, No. 18-50440, 2021 WL 4270847, that a law enforcement officer violated a criminal defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights when he opened images attached to the defendant’s emails without a warrant, even though the images had previously been flagged as child sexual abuse materials (“CSAM”) by Google’s automated CSAM-detection software.  The court based its ruling on the private search exception to the Fourth Amendment, which permits law enforcement to conduct a warrantless search only to the extent the search was previously conducted by a private party.  Because no individual at Google actually opened and viewed the images flagged as CSAM, the court held that law enforcement “exceeded the scope of the antecedent private search,” thereby “exceed[ing] the limits of the private search exception.”  Op. at 20-21.

Continue Reading Ninth Circuit’s Interpretation of Private Search Exception to the Fourth Amendment Contributes to “Growing Tension” Among Circuit Courts