Tag Archives: cloud

Article – Riley’s Implications for Fourth Amendment Protection in the Cloud

The United States Supreme Court held in Riley v. California that the police generally may not, without a warrant, search digital information on a cellphone seized from an individual who has been arrested.

It seems like the what is on the physical cell phone is just the root of the search and seizure issue.  Many cell phones are connected to much more information than the physical device can hold.  Extending the capacity to access documents, cloud storage can vastly increase what a cell phone has access to.

Acting as an extension of the physical cell phone, it is not completely clear what the Fourth Amendment search and seizure ramifications are.

Riley’s protection of cloud-based data for cell phone searches, however, does not address the broader question of whether information stored in the cloud is entitled to Fourth Amendment protection in other contexts. Indeed, the Court went out of its way to state that Riley did ‘not implicate the question [of] whether the collection or inspection of aggregated digital information amounts to a search under other circumstances.’ The Court also distinguished the facts of Riley from those in Smith v. Maryland, one of the principal cases to apply the so-called “third-party doctrine.” The third-party doctrine, which provides that information voluntarily revealed to third parties is not protected by the Fourth Amendment, may pose the biggest obstacle to whether cloud-based data receives Fourth Amendment protection, since any data stored in the cloud is necessarily conveyed to third-party servers. Yet by sidestepping the third-party doctrine in Riley, the Court never had to address how the doctrine applies to private data stored across remote servers.

Nevertheless, while failing to explicitly afford Fourth Amendment protection to cloud-based data, Riley still provides the best evidence yet that the Court may be ready to reconsider the third-party doctrine and to recognize Fourth Amendment protection for personal data stored in the cloud.

— Ryan Watzel, Riley’s Implications for Fourth Amendment Protection in the Cloud, 124 Yale L.J. F. 73 (2014), http://www.yalelawjournal.org/forum/rileys-implications-in-the-cloud.



Arizona Legal News

  • It is a scary time to be an investigative reporter in the United States.  In recent years, the United States government seized two months worth of phone logs from Associated Press office phones in New York, Washington D.C., Hartford Conn., and the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery. United States Attorney General also signed off on a search warrant for Fox News reporter James Rosen’s emails.  Last week, the State Department launched a free press campaign the same day the Department of Justice asked the United States Supreme Court to force James Risen into jail.  [TechDirt]
  • Big data can lead to big problems, if not used with extreme care. President Barack Obama is saying there is a potential for discrimination in the use of ‘big data’ by the United States government and private corporations on issues such as housing and employment discrimination.  [Associated Press]
  • The cloud is convenient, getting cheaper, and more secure. But the cloud and the laws surrounding the information in the cloud haven’t been sorted out yet.  From government seizures of entire private cloud storage sites, to terms of service constantly changing, there are unique problems that occur up in the cloud.  [NPR]
  • Courts have at times extended medical negligence to faulty equipment, which unintentionally broke during a procedure.  It does not appear courts have looked at the issue of whether negligence extends to manufacturers of equipment that intentionally breaks due to malicious intent.  Can hospitals or product manufacturers of vulnerable equipment liable?  [Wired]
  • There is a growing overlap between social media and class action lawsuits, sometimes called ‘tweet suits.’  Plaintiffs use social media to find other similarly situated potential plaintffs to join in the lawsuit.  The courts will have to sort out if it is permissible to air one’s dirty laundry on social media, in part, to find co-plaintiffs for a class action suit.  [NPR]