Social Media Searches and the Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

Brian Mund
19 Yale J.L. & Tech. 238

Under existing law, social media information communicated through behind password-protected pages receives no reasonable expectation of privacy. The Note argues that the Fourth Amendment requires a greater degree of privacy protection for social media data. Judicial and legislative activity provides indicia of a willingness to reconsider citizens’ reasonable expectation of privacy and reverse an anachronistic equation of privacy with secrecy. Government monitoring of private social media pages constitutes a deeply invasive form of surveillance and, if government agents employ covert tactics to gain access to private social media networks, then the Fourth Amendment controls government use of that private social media information.