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Judge: Peer-to-Peer Data Isn’t Protected Under Fourth Amendment

PRIVACY LAW—U.S.

November 12, 2013

A federal judge in Vermont has ruled there can be no expectation of privacy when it comes to data exposed online via a peer-to-peer file-sharing network, Computerworld reports. The case involved three men charged with a crime who claimed the police illegally gathered data from their computers using a peer-to-peer search tool and then obtained a search warrant based on that data. The defendants asked the judge to suppress the evidence based on a violation of their Fourth Amendment rights, but District Court Judge Christina Reiss denied the motion, stating the defendants made the data public when they posted it over a peer-to-peer network. Other courts have ruled similarly where peer-to-peer networks are involved.
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