Orin Kerr writes:
I’ve blogged twice before about whether it is a Fourth Amendment search for the government to scan the magnetic stripe of a seized credit card. In my view, the answer is yes. But the cases so far are coming out the other way: The Sixth Circuit held that the answer is no, as did a divided Eighth Circuit panel.
The Fifth Circuit has now ruled on the question. In an opinion by Judge Gregg Costa involving gift cards, United States v. Turner, the court agreed with the Sixth Circuit and the Eighth Circuit that scanning the magnetic stripe is not a search.
I’m a fan of Judge Costa’s work, but I think this decision is wrong. I thought I would expand on my prior posts and say more on why it’s wrong — and why I think it matters.
Read more on The Volokh Conspiracy.