Alain Leibman comments:
An earlier post considered the wide array of analyses employed by the courts of appeal in assessing under the Fourth Amendment the constitutionality of searches of computers and other electronic storage devices. (An article by the author, expanding substantially on the short-form blog entry, may be found at “Computer Search and Seizure Under the Fourth Amendment: The Dilemma of Applying Old-Age Principles to New-Age Technology,” Criminal Law Reporter (March 2, 2011)). The differences among the courts turn on the degree to which they view the search of an electronic storage medium as like, or as unlike, a traditional search of a file drawer or other container of papers. A plurality of circuit courts have required law enforcement agents to proceed cautiously in searching through computers, cognizant both of the quantity of private data housed in a computer and the potentially corrosive effect on expectations of privacy when the “plain view” doctrine is used to justify a close review of data far afield from the original object of the search.
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