In a new book, CDT experts debate some of the most pressing issues in surveillance law today.
Patriot Debates: Contemporary Issues in National Security Law features CDT’s Greg Nojeim in a debate on the third-party records doctrine and its application to criminal investigations in the digital age. The doctrine holds that law enforcement does not need a warrant to search and seize information lawfully held by third parties, such as online file hosting services like Dropbox or online email providers like Gmail. Nojeim argues that the third-party records doctrine is outdated and an ill-suited legal standard for today’s digital world. For example, people can use physical storage lockers rented out to them by a third party—that is, a locker rental company—and retain a warrant protection for their property stored in the lockers. However, if people use an online storage service provided by a third party, their warrant protection is lost. Nojeim advocates for a technologically neutral third-party doctrine that extends the Fourth Amendment’s warrant protection to the digital space.