•  
  •  
 

Authors

SAMANTHA TREPEL

Abstract

Translating Fourth Amendment rules designed to regulate searches and seizures of physical property into rules that regulate digital investigations raises numerous questions. This Note seeks to address one narrow subset of the issues digital evidence collection presents: the execution of computer searches conducted pursuant to warrants, and the threat of general searches-searches effectively unlimited in scope by the warrant they raise. Both courts and academics have called attention to this risk of general searches, and many have proposed solutions that seek to preserve the Fourth Amendment's traditional balance between individual privacy and government need. However, a single workable rule remains elusive. While the proposed solutions do not provide answers in every context, many of the rules do have merit in specific factual situations. At least while digital technology continues to change at a rapid pace, lower courts should be encouraged to develop a toolbox of rules to address the problem. Reviewing courts should take the lead, exploring the contours and boundaries of the problem and developing diferent tools in various factual contexts through the process of common law decision-making.

Share

COinS