Authored by Michael Melendez, Director of Policy
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
These are the words that comprise the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Many defendants have relied on them—and similar clauses in state constitutions—but has modern technology rendered this protection ineffective? Has the traditional regard for privacy eroded to a point of no return? Can a 400-year-old idea continue to be relevant today?
The fears and concerns of the Constitution’s drafters are as pertinent as ever today. New circumstances and technologies present themselves often, but there must be balance between the law and individual rights to ensure that our digital data is protected.