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Communications technology is continuously advancing in today’s society. Over the last few decades, the creation of thermal imaging, cell phones, and GPS’ have given individuals new opportunities for communication, but have also provided means for the government to obtain information on individuals when necessary. However, when the Fourth Amendment was created to protect individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures, the original context of the Constitution did not allow for the idea that such communications technology would exist. As a result of these advancements, the privacy of individuals could potentially be compromised when this technology is used. While the justices have rendered various decisions regarding privacy rights, they have not established criteria as to how evolving communications technology should be viewed in relation to the Fourth Amendment. Justices differ over whether technology ought to be viewed in light of today’s society or how it was understood during the formation of the Constitution. I will argue that in the course of trying to follow the Fourth Amendment as written, the Supreme Court is hindering individual freedom in the modern world. The Court must rethink its approach to privacy and advancing communications technology by replacing the notion that searches are limited to just physical intrusions with new foundations that fit the reality of contemporary society and its methods of communication.
Terris, Callie K., "Rethinking Privacy: An Examination of the Fourth Amendment and Communications Technology" (2018). Politics Honors Papers. 7.