Friday, May 4, 2007

The Fourth Amendment and Facebook Privacy

The Fourth Amendment and Privacy Issues on the "New" Internet: Facebook.com and MySpace.com
Matthew J. Hodge

Facebook.com and MySpace.com are two of the most trafficked Web sites on the Internet. These Web sites form a "new" type of internet where users can create profiles and share information like never before. With the exploding popularity comes the usage by law enforcement of these Web sites to investigate criminal offenses and the corresponding privacy concerns of citizens.

The Comment explores Fourth Amendment jurisprudence beginning with Katz v. United States and continuing with the landmark decisions of Smith v. Maryland and United States v. Miller. The Comment then discusses Fourth Amendment cases dealing specifically with cyberspace communications, including a case out of the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, United States v. Maxwell. The Comment goes on to discuss how a court faced with a Fourth Amendment issue on Facebook.com or MySpace.com might apply the holdings from prior cases.

Facebook.com and MySpace.com have default settings which allow almost anyone to view a profile created on one of these Web sites. However, the sites also allow users to restrict access to their profiles to only those they accept or allow to view. This active step creates different issues with regards to a reasonable expectation of privacy. The Web sites also have privacy policies which allow them to collect information from users and store the profiles on their central systems. All of these features create issues a court would likely deal with when presented with Fourth Amendment inquiry. The Comment discusses these issues and ultimately concludes that in limited instances, a person should be entitled to a reasonable expectation of privacy on these Web sites.

31 S. Ill. U. L. J. 95
[http://www.law.siu.edu/research/31fallpdf/fall06.htm]

Full Text Available [http://www.law.siu.edu/research/31fallpdf/fourthamendment.pdf]

BTW: The Fourth Admendment addresses the issues relating to illegal Search and Seizure.
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_Amendment_to_the_United_States_Constitution]

No comments: