Monday, April 19, 2010

“Cloudy” future for 4th Amendment?

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”-4th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

So…does this apply equally to desk drawers, or what’s inside the computer on your desk which at the same time is posted on numerous social websites?

It’s a point raised in an article by Bob Sullivan about Cloud Computing on the “Red Tape Chronicles” website.

The whole idea of the 4th Amendment is to prevent the authorities from just walking into your house and rummaging through your private papers without cause. But in today’s world of Twitter ® to Facebook®, just what’s private and what isn’t?

As I’ve posted before, once you post something online, it’s “out there.” As the article points out, “Technology has changed dramatically in the last 20 years, but the law has not.” That gap continues to widen.
Is a letter written to a friend then stuffed in a drawer any different than a Facebook posting sent to that same friend for everyone to see? Akin I would guess, to simply leaving the letter on the public sidewalk outside your friend’s house.

Here’s another problem, and one some Congressional friends have agreed with me on. Despite laws being crafted to keep up with progress, there’s a significant chunk of legislators that frankly should “Try my product!” As hard as it is to believe, some legislators actually don’t vote for what they don’t understand.

Writer Bob Sullivan shares some interesting thoughts about all this which I wanted to share with you.

John W. Scherer
John Scherer is CEO and Founder of Video Professor, Inc.
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