A new opinion from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit raises many questions about procedures to be followed in electronic searches. Last year in United States v. Comprehensive Drug Testing, Inc., the court set out guidelines for electronic searches and seizures so that the "plain view" doctrine did not allow electronic fishing expeditions. The guidelines followed an approach that is routinely used for electronic surveillance. However, on rehearing the case following objections from government prosecutors, the court's new opinion removed the guidelines though it still concluded that the search at issue was impermissible. EPIC had argued in an amicus brief for the Supreme Court that the guidelines in Comprehensive Drug Testing should be broadly applied to searches of electronic media. For more information, see EPIC: City of Ontario v. Quon.
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Communications Law and Policy
Jerry Kang and Alan Butler