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Three thoughts on U.S. v. Jones

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1 Response

  1. Josh says:

    Prof. Kaminski,

    I’m curious as to why you aren’t more hopeful regarding Alito’s concurrence. I recognize the potential for a degradation of privacy that he points out from Katz, but I guess that potential has really always been there since Katz’s inception. It seems to me, though, that his suggestion at oral argument to which you’ve referred could actually cut both ways.

    Obviously allowing your friends to monitor your location or activities through social networking sites seems very similar to the “false friend” line of cases. Nevertheless, as society becomes more technologically sophisticated, I believe following the societal expectations might increase our level of privacy in a more modern sense. Couldn’t this case and Alito’s concurrence be read to say that the “real world” exchanges of information should be treated differently from online communication/tracking because society does have a completely different set of social conventions and expectations for the latter?

    Furthermore, I think that just pointing out that people know that their communications could be technologically monitored by others is different from the Katz emphasis of social expectation of privacy that Alito’s concurrence hinges on. I happen to know many people, including one federal judge, who are aware that GPS tracking could be done via tracking a mobile phone, but aren’t aware of the default settings making such tracking about as ubiquitous as Justice Alito’s oral-argument comments described.

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