Right to Privacy

Katz. v. United States, in particular 389 U.S. 347 (1967), is the case of the United States Supreme Court, where people were discussing such thing as the “right to privacy” and the lawful explanation of a “search”. The Court’s predominant acts fixed earlier explanations of the irrational seizure and search clause, which is mentioned in the Fourth Amendment, to consider inessential intrusion with the help of high technologies in the means of search. At the same time it disallows Goldman v. United States and Olmstead v. United States. What is more, it was also confined by Katz Fourth Amendment protection to all spheres where an individual has a “reasonable expectation of privacy”.

Justice Stewart reckoned: “The Government’s activities in electronically listening to and recording the petitioner’s words violated the privacy upon which he justifiably relied while using the telephone booth and thus constituted a “search and seizure” within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment”.  That was the ruling of the court. Notwithstanding the Fourth Amendment’s warrant necessities, the Katz case made the government to come to the right decision, namely wiretapping by both federal and state authorities. Furthermore, Justice Hugo Black, in its turn, debated that the Fourth Amendment, in general, has only a slightly meaning of protection and safety of “things” from seizure and physical search. Moreover, it was not implied in any case to defend personal privacy. Finally, Black said that contemporary actions of wiretapping were the same as the actions of eavesdropping.

Talking about another significant case, particularly United States v. Jones, 565 US, 132 S. Ct.945 (2012), there should be mentioned essential facts. First of all, it was a 2012 Supreme Court of the United States case concerning government’s installation and long time use of a Global Positioning System (GPS) moving gear. Having no warrant, the government successfully came into effect a GPS device on the suspect’s automobile and permanently showed that car for 28 days. However, the parties were asked by the Court to speak whether “the warrantless use of a tracking device on respondent’s vehicle to monitor its movements on public streets violated the Fourth Amendment”, the predominant actions of the Court were much narrower than the question given above. On January 23, 2012, it was unanimously proclaimed by the Supreme Court that “the Government’s installation of a GPS device on a target’s vehicle, and its use of that device to monitor the vehicle’s movements, constitutes a search” under the Fourth Amendment. In addition, it was not addressed by the court if such kind of a search would be irrational and that is why the Fourth Amendment was violated.

Despite the unanimous decision of the court, there was made a split between justices, namely 5-4 people taking into account governmental infringement upon private property while giving an explanation of a Fourth Amendment violation or to exclusively trust if the government violated people’s “reasonable expectation of privacy”. Being more precise, the vast majority of the Court supported Justice Antonin Scalia. It was said that the actions of government of providing and future using a GPS gear as a trespass on private property are in the same way proclaiming a “search” in combination with that device’s monitoring. An array of Justices supported Antonin Scalia; others not, arguing about its narrowing of the whole thought. Justice Sonya Sotomayor sounded more clear and plausible, adding about the rational expectation of privacy, and showed the dangers of high technologies encroachment in detail under the personal privacy.

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