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Compare and contrast the four different categorizations of computer crimes

General Principles A search is constitutional if it does not violate a person's "reasonable" or "legitimate" expectation of privacy. United States, 389 U. This inquiry embraces two discrete questions: In most cases, the difficulty of contesting a defendant's subjective expectation of privacy focuses the analysis on the objective aspect of the Katz test, i.

No bright line rule indicates whether an expectation of privacy is constitutionally reasonable. For example, the Supreme Court has held that a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy in property located inside a person's home, see Payton v.

New York, 445 U. United States, 533 U. In contrast, a person does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in activities conducted in open fields, see Oliver v.

United States, 466 U. Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in Computers as Storage Devices To determine whether an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy in information stored in a computer, it helps to treat the computer like a closed container such as a briefcase or file cabinet. The Fourth Amendment generally prohibits law enforcement from accessing and viewing information stored in a computer without a warrant if it would be prohibited from opening a closed container and examining its contents in the same situation.

The most basic Fourth Amendment question in computer cases asks whether an individual enjoys a reasonable expectation of privacy in electronic information stored within computers or other electronic storage devices under the individual's control. For example, do individuals have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of their laptop computers, floppy disks or pagers? If the answer is "yes," then the government ordinarily must obtain a warrant before it accesses the information stored inside.

When confronted with this issue, courts have analogized electronic storage devices to closed containers, and have reasoned that accessing the information stored within an electronic storage device is akin to opening a closed container. Because individuals generally retain a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of closed containers, see United States v. Accordingly, accessing information stored in a computer ordinarily will implicate the owner's reasonable expectation of privacy in the information.

See United States v. Although courts have generally agreed that electronic storage devices can be analogized to closed containers, they have reached differing conclusions over whether each individual file stored on a computer or disk should be treated as a separate closed container. In two cases, the Fifth Circuit has determined that a computer disk containing multiple files is a single container for Fourth Amendment purposes. First, in United States v. Analogizing a disk to a closed container, the court explained that "police do not exceed the private search when they examine more items within a closed container than did the private searchers.

Second, in United States v. In contrast to the Fifth Circuit's approach, the Tenth Circuit has refused to allow such exhaustive searches of a computer's hard in the absence of a warrant or some exception to the warrant requirement. In particular, the Tenth Circuit cautioned in a later case that "[b]ecause computers can hold so much information touching on many different areas of a person's life, there is greater potential for the 'intermingling' of documents and a consequent invasion of privacy when police execute a search for evidence on a compare and contrast the four different categorizations of computer crimes.

Although individuals generally retain a reasonable expectation of privacy in computers under their control, special circumstances may eliminate that expectation.

7 Types of Cyber Crimes and Criminals

For example, an individual will not retain a reasonable expectation of privacy in information from a computer that the person has made openly available. In United States v. The court found no Fourth Amendment violation in obtaining the password, because the defendant did not enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy "in the display that appeared on the screen.

See also Katz v. May 23, 2001 holding that defendant did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in use of a private computer network when undercover federal agents looked over his shoulder, when he did not own the computer he used, and when he knew that the system administrator could monitor his activities. Nor will individuals generally enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of computers they have stolen. Reasonable Expectation of Privacy and Third-Party Possession Individuals who retain a reasonable expectation of privacy in stored electronic information under their control may lose Fourth Amendment protections when they relinquish that control to third parties.

For example, an individual may offer a container of electronic information to a third party by bringing a malfunctioning computer to a repair shop, or by shipping a floppy diskette in the mail to a friend. Alternatively, a user may transmit information to third parties electronically, such as by sending data across the Internet. When law enforcement agents learn of information possessed by third parties that may provide evidence of a crime, they may wish to inspect it.

Whether the Fourth Amendment requires them to obtain a compare and contrast the four different categorizations of computer crimes before examining the information depends first upon whether the third-party possession has eliminated the individual's reasonable expectation of privacy.

To analyze third-party possession issues, it helps first to distinguish between possession by a carrier in the course of transmission to an intended recipient, and subsequent possession by the intended recipient. For example, if A hires B to carry a package to C, A's reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of the package during the time that B carries the package on its way to C may be different than A's reasonable expectation of privacy after C has received the package.

During transmission, contents generally retain Fourth Amendment protection. The government ordinarily may not examine the contents of a package in the course of transmission without a warrant. Government intrusion and examination of the contents ordinarily violates the reasonable expectation of privacy of both the sender and receiver.

This rule applies regardless of whether the carrier is owned by the government or a private company. Compare Ex Parte Jackson, 96 U.

  • Even if courts follow the more restrictive approach, the information gleaned from the private search will often be useful in providing the probable cause needed to obtain a warrant for a further search;
  • According to the Court, the detectives' statements that they were looking for signs of the assault limited the scope of consent to the kind of physical evidence that an intruder might have left behind;
  • In contrast, a person does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in activities conducted in open fields, see Oliver v;
  • This typically consists of covering up embezzlement.

United States, 447 U. A government "search" of an intangible electronic signal in the course of transmission may also implicate the Fourth Amendment. New York, 388 U. Title III, which is discussed fully in Chapter 4, provides a comprehensive statutory framework that regulates real-time monitoring of wire and electronic communications.

Its scope encompasses, and in many significant ways exceeds, the protection offered by the Fourth Amendment. United States Army, 125 F. As a practical matter, then, the monitoring of wire and electronic communications in the course of transmission generally raises many statutory questions, but few constitutional ones.

See generally Chapter 4. Individuals may lose Fourth Amendment protection in their computer files if they lose control of the files. Once an item has been received by the intended recipient, the sender's reasonable expectation of privacy generally depends upon whether the sender can reasonably expect to retain control over the item and its contents. When a person leaves a package with a third party for temporary safekeeping, for example, he usually retains control of the package, and thus retains a reasonable expectation of privacy in its contents.

I. SEARCHING AND SEIZING COMPUTERS WITHOUT A WARRANT

See also United States v. If the sender cannot reasonably expect to retain control over the item in the third party's possession, however, the sender no longer retains a reasonable expectation of privacy in its contents. For example, in United States v. After the FBI searched the competitor's computers and found the pricing information, the defendant claimed that the search violated his Fourth Amendment rights.

The Fourth Circuit disagreed, holding that the defendant relinquished his interest in and control over the information by sending it to the competitor for the competitor's future use. Ohio 1997 holding that defendant does not retain reasonable expectation of privacy in contents of e-mail message sent to America Online chat room after the message has been received by chat room participants citing Hoffa v. United States, 385 U. In some cases, the sender may initially retain a right to control the third party's possession, but may lose that right over time.

The general rule is that the sender's Fourth Amendment rights dissipate as the sender's right to control the third party's possession diminishes. Following a warrantless search of the facility, the government sought to use the tapes against Poulsen.

  • Under the approach adopted by the Fifth Circuit in Runyan, a third-party search of a single file on a computer allows a warrantless search by law enforcement of the computer's entire contents;
  • The First Circuit held that the use of the files did not violate the Fourth Amendment, because the files were made openly available by the thieves' private search;
  • For example, in a town near where I live, a church employee used a church credit card to buy personal items and covered his tracks by changing computer records of the transactions;
  • When agents would like to search an adult child's room or other private areas, however, agents cannot assume that the adult's parents have authority to consent;
  • According to the Court, the detectives' statements that they were looking for signs of the assault limited the scope of consent to the kind of physical evidence that an intruder might have left behind.

The Ninth Circuit held that the search did not violate Poulsen's reasonable expectation of privacy because under state law Poulsen's failure to pay rent extinguished his right to access the tapes. An important line of Supreme Court cases states that individuals generally cannot reasonably expect to retain control over mere information revealed to third parties, even if the senders have a subjective expectation that the third parties will keep the information confidential.

By placing information under the control of a third party, the Court stated, an account holder assumes the risk that the information will be conveyed to the government.

According to the Court, "the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit the obtaining of information revealed to a third party and conveyed by him to Government authorities, even if the information is revealed on the assumption that it will be used only for a limited purpose and the confidence placed in the third party will not be betrayed.

See also Smith v.

  • Nor will individuals generally enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy in the contents of computers they have stolen;
  • System operators have "root level" access to the systems they administer, which effectively grants them master keys to open any account and read any file on their systems;
  • Computer manipulation crimes are simply crimes in which a person manipulates computer files to cover up crimes they have committed;
  • The Fourth Circuit disagreed, holding that the defendant relinquished his interest in and control over the information by sending it to the competitor for the competitor's future use;
  • In circumstances such as this, the system administrator would likely have sufficient common authority over the accounts to be able to consent to a search.

United States, 409 U. Because computer data is "information," this line of cases suggests that individuals who send data over communications networks may lose Fourth Amendment protection in the data once it reaches the intended recipient.

Miller and Smith v. Of course, the absence of constitutional protections does not necessarily mean that the government can access the data without a warrant or court order. Statutory protections exist that generally protect the privacy of electronic communications stored remotely with service providers, and can protect the privacy of Internet users when the Fourth Amendment may not. Defendants will occasionally raise a Fourth Amendment challenge to the acquisition of account records and subscriber information held by Internet service providers using less process than a full search warrant.

As discussed in a later chapter, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act permits the government to obtain transactional records with an "articulable facts" court order, and basic subscriber information with a subpoena. These statutory procedures comply with the Fourth Amendment because customers of Internet service providers do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in customer account records maintained by and for the provider's business. This rule accords with prior cases considering the scope of Fourth Amendment protection in customer account records.

Private Searches The Fourth Amendment does not apply to searches conducted by private parties who are not acting as agents of the government. The Fourth Amendment "is wholly inapplicable to a search or seizure, even an unreasonable one, effected by a private individual not acting as an agent of the Government or with the participation or knowledge of any governmental official.

What are the four main categories of computer crimes and what is an example of each one?

As a result, no violation of the Fourth Amendment occurs when a private individual acting on his own accord conducts a search and makes the results available to law enforcement. In the course of evaluating the defendant's computer, the repairman observed that many files stored on the computer had filenames characteristic of child pornography. The repairman accessed the files, saw that they did in fact contain child pornography, and then contacted the state police.

The tip led to a warrant, the defendant's arrest, and his conviction for child pornography offenses. On appeal, the Seventh Circuit rejected the defendant's claim that the repairman's warrantless search through the computer violated the Fourth Amendment. Because the repairman's search was conducted on his own, the court held, the Fourth Amendment did not apply to the search or his later description of the evidence to the state police.

According to Jacobsen, agents who learn of evidence via a private search can reenact the original private search without violating any reasonable expectation of privacy. What the agents cannot do without a warrant is "exceed[] the scope of the private search. But see United States v. This standard requires agents to limit their investigation to the scope of the private search when searching without a warrant after a private search has occurred.

So long as the agents limit themselves to the scope of the private search, the agents' search will not violate the Fourth Amendment. However, as soon as agents exceed the compare and contrast the four different categorizations of computer crimes of the private warrantless search, any evidence uncovered may be vulnerable to a motion to suppress.

In computer cases, law enforcement use of the private search doctrine will depend in part on whether law enforcement examination of files not examined during the private search is seen as exceeding the scope of the private warrantless search.

Under the approach adopted by the Fifth Circuit in Runyan, a third-party search of a single file on a computer allows a warrantless search by law enforcement of the computer's entire contents. Other courts, however, may reject the Fifth Circuit's approach and rule that government searchers can view only those files whose contents were revealed in the private search. Even if courts follow the more restrictive approach, the information gleaned from the private search will often be useful in providing the probable cause needed to obtain a warrant for a further search.

Later, thieves stole the safe, opened it, and abandoned it in a public park.