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News Posted on May 26, 2017

Professor Joh Comments for The Atlantic on Data Privacy

Professor Elizabeth Joh commented for The Atlantic on Fourth Amendment issues raised by warrantless police access to cell phone data. 

Currently, police can obtain from phone service providers data that allows them to trace an individual’s location without a warrant under the third-party doctrine, a legal principle first articulated by the Supreme Court 40 years ago that holds that Americans have no “reasonable expectation of privacy” when voluntarily disclosing information to a third party like a phone company.

The Supreme Court is considering whether to take up two cases on the issue, Graham v. United States and Carpenter v. United States, for its upcoming term in October. Professor Joh said the doctrine is out of date and “really calls out for reconsideration.”

“The real issue is: Does it make sense to keep applying these pre-digital-era cases to a totally different context?” Joh asked.

Professor Joh's scholarship focuses on criminal procedure and policing, with a special emphasis on DNA evidence, undercover policing, and new surveillance technologies. She is the recipient of King Hall’s 2017 Distinguished Teaching Award.