Law, Dissonance, and Remote Computer Searches

January 8, 2013
This Article examines the conflict—the dissonance—that arises when law enforcement officers from one jurisdiction remotely search a computer that is physically located in another jurisdiction. It reviews the current status of remote computer searches in Europe, noting that such searches are legal under United Kingdom law but are, for most purposes, outlawed by German law. The Article then explains that, because U.S. state supreme courts have used their constitutions to impose search and seizure requirements that exceed those of the Fourth Amendment, similar dissonance has arisen between U.S. states. It uses this domestic dissonance to analyze the issues transnational searches are likely to create and to consider how those issues might be resolved.