From Radio Shack to the U.S. Supreme Court

This Wednesday, November 29, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments in a case that, as an article in the Nov. 27, 2017, New York Times describes it, “could spur a new era in digital privacy.”

While the case, Carpenter v. United States, had its origins in a “run-of-the-mill purse snatching,” according to the Washington Post, it has morphed into “the most important Fourth Amendment case we’ve seen in a generation.” Thus asserts Nathan Freed Wessler in a USA Today article. Mr. Wessler is the American Civil Liberties Union attorney who will argue the case on Wednesday.

According to the Petition for a Writ of Certiorari filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on September 28, 2016, the Question Presented is: “Whether the warrantless seizure and search of historical cell phone records revealing the location and movements of a cell phone user over the course of 127 days is permitted by the Fourth Amendment.”

In addition, the case involves the Stored Communications Act, 18 USC §§ 2701 to 2711.

If you would like to place this landmark case in context, Chicago-Kent’s Law Library has resources that may be of interest to you. Some examples are the following:

Cybersecurity Law by Jeff Kosseff. An ebook published in 2017, it discusses the Stored Communications Act on the following pages:

  • Section 2701 278–279
  • Section 2702 279–284
  • Section 2703 284–286
  • full text 461–476

Privacy Law in a Nutshell. Published in 2014, it is located on the 10th floor of the law library.

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