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Government Surveillance

Gutin & Wolverton May 2, 2019

The Constitution

The Fourth Amendment protects individuals against unreasonable search and seizure by the government. For a search to be reasonable, the government generally must have “probable cause” that a crime has been or is being committed, and the government must first get a search warrant (although there are many exceptions to the search warrant part). The 4th Amendment can apply to computerized data. However, because it was conceptualized in terms of physical searches (versus electronic), its application to electronic data has been strained. See the Judicial section for a discussion of how the 4th Amendment has been applied to electronic data.