Instasearch: Fixing Fourth Amendment Jurisprudence as Applied to Instagram and Other Cyberspace Data Storage Providers

April 9, 2015

Under the Supreme Court’s Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, the constitutional privacy protections that many Americans take for granted are non-existent in cyberspace because of the third-party doctrine, which was born decades before the popular adoption of cyberspace social networks and data storage services. When someone in America posts a picture on Instagram or updates a status on Facebook, regardless of the enabled privacy settings, the Supreme Court has determined that the Fourth Amendment does not protect that information from unreasonable search or seizure. However, Americans do in fact have reasonable expectations of privacy when using cyberspace services like Instagram, Facebook, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Therefore, the courts should adopt a new test for discerning reasonable expectations of privacy that better balances the public interest in effective law enforcement with the actual reasonable privacy expectations of individuals.