Fourth Amendment, search and seizure, electronic communications


As e-mail and other forms of electronic communications began becoming widely used, Congress recognized the need to protect these new forms of communication from impermissible intrusion. Unsure whether the flexible approach to determining the extent of Fourth Amendment protections as announced in Katz v. United States would extend to electronic communications, Congress enacted the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to ensure a baseline level of protection. This Note argues that the Fourth Amendment does extend to electronic communications and, therefore, the provisions of the ECPA that allow the government to access certain electronic communications without a search warrant are unconstitutional.

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