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Lessons for laptops from the 18th century

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2 Author(s)
Trope, R.L. ; Trope & Schramm, New York, NY ; Power, E.M.

As governments attempt to prevent, investigate, or prosecute crimes by persons who use the Internet to plan and carry out terrorist acts, the protection of private, personal information stored on computers becomes the subject of controversy. It is inevitable that the home computer becomes a target for surveillance, search, and seizure by government agents. As a result, courts will be asked to determine whether such agents have complied with applicable laws that condition such intrusions on meeting standards set by constitutions or laws that did not anticipate the home computer as a focal point for such controversies. Courts are more accustomed to addressing similar controversies in the context of a house and its material contents, rather than a computer and its digital files. It is likely that the judicial system will use analogies to the house when deciding controversies concerning the reasonable expectations of privacy in a home computer's contents. In apparent anticipation, the US Justice Department's policy on the search and seizure of computers in investigations uses such an analogy to justify its position that when several people share a computer, any one of them can grant the police permission to search and seize its contents

Published in:

Security & Privacy, IEEE  (Volume:4 ,  Issue: 4 )