Low Expectations: How Changing Expectations of Privacy Can Erode Fourth Amendment Protection and a Proposed Solution
Volume 84, No. 3, Spring 2012
By Teri Dobbins Baxter [PDF]

Technology has changed the lives of every American, but it has revolutionized the way that young people socialize and become socialized. Youths’ increasing use of technology to interact with their peers and shape their identities has led to a change in the way personal information is shared and the privacy expectations that are held with respect to that information. Various studies have found that, in general, younger generations have lower privacy expectations than their older counterparts. This Article considers how these changing attitudes towards privacy among youth have the potential to erode Fourth Amendment protection for everyone. The Article then proposes modest changes to the current test for Fourth Amendment protection that take into consideration the changes in society brought about by rapidly developing technology. Specifically, the Article proposes a test that asks: (1) whether a person has taken steps to reasonably limit access to the information or place targeted for search or seizure; and (2) if so, whether society is prepared to protect the information or space from government intrusion.

Read Article…