January 2014

The “third-party problem”: one reason telegrams were not constitutionally protected

Unlike postal mail or, later, the telephone, telegrams never received constitutional protection. Yet they were the quintessential nineteenth-century technology of communication, used extensively for business, government, and personal communication, much of which both senders and receivers would have wished to keep to themselves.

The slow pace of Fourth Amendment change

In Protections for Electronic Communications: the Stored Communications Act and the Fourth Amendment, Alexander Scolnik wrote:

As technology evolves, giving individuals new forms of communicating and government agents increasingly sophisticated tools for surveillance, courts have had to continually interpret the Fourth Amendment and define the extent of its reach in light of these new advances.