Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly


Daniel Zamani


The near ubiquity of smart phones in American society raises a multitude of issues as courts attempt to fit the use of this new technology into old property analogies. This Note specifically addresses the application of the Fourth Amendment's proscription against unwarranted search and seizures to these devices. It traces Fourth Amendment jurisprudence through Katz v. United States and more recent cases such as City of Ontario v. Quon and notes a general emphasis on property analogies. However, this emphasis is deemed insufficient in its application to smart phones, given that they do not neatly fall into any prior categories. The Note poses a refinement of the model for dealing with the data encountered in and around smart phones, suggesting that it be divided into two dichotomies of local versus remote data and coding versus content data. In doing so, it suggests some methods for law enforcement to meet their needs while respecting the smart phone owners' reasonable expectations of privacy in their data.