Friday, October 28, 2011

The Third Party Doctrine

A new story about the LAPD being told they can't use cloud services, specifically Google apps, because it would threaten privacy. The article cites Google's inability to meet certain security requirements related to criminal records, but the real issue to me is the third party doctrine.

Records shared with a third party, such as Google, do not usually invoke the fourth amendment protection from illegal search and seizure. If all aspects of criminal records - email back and forth between attorneys, speculation about the case and possible suspects, issues with the investigation, etc., - are being stored by a third party such as Google, then all of this information moves into an area of disputed privacy protection. Future criminal investigations of a suspect may not require a warrant for law enforcement to access records that already exist on third party servers, depending on how current court cases are resolved.

This is one area where technology has significantly outpaced the law.

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