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“Smart homes” and the Fourth Amendment

You’ve no doubt heard about digital devices from outfits like Nest or Amazon Echo or Google Home that allow you remotely to control your thermostat or your lights and blinds or take video of the goings-on in your yard or on your porch. Perhaps you’ve also heard about the case in Arkansas in which the prosecution was seeking audio from the defendant’s Amazon Echo to determine if it contained evidence about his culpability for a murder. (If you haven’t, see here and here.) While in that case the data were turned over after the defendant and Amazon dropped their objections, it’s only a matter of time before you have a case where you’ll be wondering whether the Fourth Amendment provides a shield to the data collected by your client’s “smart home” device. This new piece from the Harvard Law Review will give you a place to start developing your litigation strategy.

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