The Fourth Amendment and the March of Technology
The Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures operates in a rapidly changing world. For example, advancing technology gives law enforcement and national security officials the power to hear or read most of our communications (through wiretapping our phones, tracking our phone calls, and reading our emails), read most of our private records (through searching our computers and smartphones and social media websites), and detect our whereabouts (through cell phone tracking or public cameras). Courts have struggled to interpret and apply established judicial doctrines as they adjudicate these and other novel conflicts between privacy and law enforcement / national security interests. Legislative efforts to draw additional lines have produced mixed results. And as technology continues to advance, the stakes grow ever higher.
This 3-credit course will assume basic knowledge of Fourth Amendment doctrine (with one of the foundational criminal procedure courses as a prerequisite) and address the scope of Fourth Amendment rights and remedies in this era of rapid technological change. We will carefully read judicial decisions and analyze constitutional rulemaking, as well as investigate cutting-edge issues in the field. While the course should particularly interest students inclined to become prosecutors or criminal defense lawyers, it should also interest students wanting an intense exposure to constitutional legal reasoning.
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