Document Type


Publication Date



Information stored in a physical object receives the same Fourth

Amendment protection as the physical object in which it is stored.

As information moves online, it becomes independent of physical

objects, and therefore traditional rules must be reexamined. Others

have argued persuasively/ and courts appear receptive to the

argument, that online communications and data should receive the

same protection as their analogs embodied in the physical world.

Even assuming that this conclusion will be universally accepted, a

troubling consequence remains: the clear weight of authority holds

that Fourth Amendment protection does not apply to information

embodied in discarded physical trash. If this rule for discarded

physical trash translates into cyberspace, then even if online

communications and data are protected, "cybertrash"-deleted emails

and other files-is not protected.

Included in

Law Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.