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Technology and the Right to Privacy

In a somewhat contradictory way, privacy is what makes us who we are. It’s what allows us to feel comfortable expressing ourselves to others without fear of intruders looking or listening on. Privacy is such a cornerstone of our lives, it is protected by the Fourth Amendment, which states that all people have the right to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.”

However, we are in a new era – an age where we can share information at just the touch of a button. Electronic devices, such as cell phones and tablets, make it easy to send a text or photo, share an article, or even make a video call.

Our mobile electronics are capable of doing so much more. They can pinpoint our locations, monitor our health, and even track our fitness levels.

Although modern technology brings us so many new and amazing conveniences, the question arises about how the legal system could use our information in ways we might not consent to.

Yes, we have constitutional rights that keep government agencies from unlawfully searching our property, but those were developed long before electronics and social media were around. Even the most recent law protecting our electronic information, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, was enacted in 1986, which creates challenges for interpretation in the modern world.

Challenges to Privacy Infringement

Recently, numerous cases regarding access to our electronic data have gone to court, and judges were left to figure out how to apply old laws to new technology. Many decisions have favored on the side of protecting the privacy rights of those in the U.S. For instance, in Carpenter v. United States, the Supreme Court ruled that law enforcement must have a warrant before reviewing cell tower information to determine a person’s location.

Although some electronic privacy issues have been addressed, many others linger. With data stored online or in the cloud, government agencies, corporations, and even individuals could hack into the system and access our information without our knowledge or permission. For instance, specific software can allow agencies to access social media feeds and see what we post and share, possibly infringing on our privacy protections.

As technology advances at a blazing speed, the government will continually need to address issues and ensure our privacy rights are protected from unlawful intrusions.

For Legal Counsel in Knoxville, Speak with Our Team at Eldridge and Cravens, PC

If you were charged with a crime, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the offense. Any evidence they submit at court must follow specific rules and must not have been unlawfully obtained. If law enforcement infringed upon your privacy rights to get an object or statement against you, it could be suppressed at court.

Our attorneys have extensive combined experience defending against misdemeanor and felony charges, and we know how to effectively challenge the State’s case. When you hire us, we will thoroughly analyze your circumstances to determine if any evidence was illegally obtained.

Schedule your free consultation by calling us at (865) 544-2010 or contacting us online.