Tag Archives: Fourth Amendment

Supreme Court Strikes Down Ordinance Authorizing Warrantless Searches of Hotel Records

On June 22, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Los Angeles v. Patel, striking down a Los Angeles city ordinance that allowed law enforcement to inspect hotel guest registers on demand as facially unconstitutional.  Writing for a 5-4 majority, Justice Sotomayor held that the ordinance violated the Fourth Amendment by failing to provide for … Continue Reading

Eleventh Circuit: Warrant Required to Obtain Cell Site Location Information

The Eleventh Circuit ruled on June 11 that cell site location information—which can reveal the location of a cell phone user, based on his proximity to cell phone towers—is protected by the Fourth Amendment and can only be obtained with a warrant.  That ruling sets the stage for continued battles over Fourth Amendment protections for … Continue Reading

Boston Marathon Bombings Spark Renewed Debate Over Surveillance

In the wake of the Boston marathon bombings and in response to the quick work of law enforcement officials who were significantly aided in their identification of the suspected bombers by videos from government- and privately owned surveillance cameras, there has been renewed public discussion regarding the privacy implications of the proliferation of security cameras. … Continue Reading

Twitter Appeals Ruling Requiring It to Produce User’s Tweets and Subscriber Information

Earlier this week, Twitter appealed a New York state judge’s ruling that required the company to produce an Occupy Wall Street protestor’s tweets, email address, and certain subscriber information.  The trial court judge had reasoned that the public nature of Twitter meant that the defendant lacked privacy interests in his tweets and that the government’s … Continue Reading

California Legislature Bans Warrantless Location Tracking

Last week, the California legislature passed one of the nation’s most restrictive bills governing law enforcement’s ability to access location information.  Under the California Location Privacy Act, state and local government agencies would be required to secure search warrants before obtaining historical or current location information for any electronic device.  The California bill would curtail … Continue Reading

Supreme Court: Attaching GPS Tracker to Suspect’s Car Constitutes Search For Purposes of Fourth Amendment

The federal government conducted a search for purposes of the Fourth Amendment when it attached a GPS tracking device to a suspect’s car and used the device to track the suspect’s movements for 28 days, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday. All nine justices voted to uphold the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals … Continue Reading

Virginia District Court Issues Significant Ruling Upholding Government Access to Non-Content User Data

by David Fagan and Alex Berengaut On November 10, 2011, Judge Liam O’Grady of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia issued a 60-page memorandum opinion in a dispute over the validity of a special court order issued to Twitter for non-content records for certain users connected to the government’s Wikileaks … Continue Reading

Federal Court Finds Warrant Required to Obtain Cell-Phone Locations

Government officials must seek a warrant to compel the disclosure of cell phone location data, a federal district court ruled, holding that a federal law allowing the government to obtain some information without a warrant violates the Fourth Amendment. In a one-page order upholding a magistrate judge’s decision, U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes, of … Continue Reading
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