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June 27, 2012

FJC Pocket Judge Update

Fjc_logo128The Federal Judicial Center -- the research and education agency of the federal judicial system -- has published the second edition of its influential booklet, Managing Discovery of Electronic Information: A Pocket Guide for Judges, by Barbara Rothstein, Ronald Hedges, and Elizabeth Wiggins. The 48-page publication updates the previous 2007 edition, and can be downloaded free from the center's website. It covers a range of topics, from explaining the difference between conventional paper discovery and electronically stored information, to providing tips on a judge's role. The booklet also includes a five-page glossary, mostly derived (with permission) from The Sedona Conference Glossary: E-Discovery & Digital Information Management (3d ed. 2010).

While reaction has been largely positive, there are some rumblings of discontent about the new publication. Read the full story here.

What do you think about the update?

Image: Federal Judicial Center.

April 02, 2012

Warrantless Phone Tracking Persists Despite Jones

Police_traffic_stop400Must-read article from The New York Times this past weekend: "Police Are Using Phone Tracking as a Routine Tool."

The article notes how local law enforcement agencies are increasingly using cell phone tracking without warrants. As most people know, cell phone companies can provide fairly accurate real-time tracking of the phones. The article quotes a police manual: "One police training manual describes cellphones as 'the virtual biographer of our daily activities,' providing a hunting ground for learning contacts and travels."

In Jones, the Supreme Court held that the use of a GPS tracking device placed on a car without a warrant violated the Fourth Amendment. The challenge is that the opinion from the Supreme Court was disjointed &mdash: with some justices reasoning that the use of the device was impermissible because the device violated privacy concerns.

Continue reading "Warrantless Phone Tracking Persists Despite Jones" »

September 14, 2011

U.S. v. Jones to Supreme Court

It may be impossible to overstate the potential importance of the upcoming Supreme Court case looking at the warrantless use of GPS tracking devices by law enforcement. Police2 The case is United States v. Jones, and there is a nice collection of documents on scotusblog.

I have written some articles about this issue, as well as posting on this blog and the Stockycat blog.  For those looking for a more detailed summary of my views, you can read this law review article I wrote last fall.

(Yes, sometimes hyped cases before the Supreme Court fizzle or get decided on more narrow grounds.  So please take that into account when you continue reading.)

The significance of this case rests, in my opinion, on the fact that this is the first time the Supreme Court has been forced to address whether the aggregation of data can pose significant and unique privacy concerns. In other words, is there a difference between limited observations of people in public, and 24 hour comprehensive surveillance?  This is one of the first opportunities for the court to examine how to apply mid-20th century legal principles to 21st century technology.

Continue reading "U.S. v. Jones to Supreme Court" »

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