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Supreme Court Says Your Expectation of Privacy Probably Shouldn’t Depend on Fine Print

EFF: “The Supreme Court unanimously ruled yesterday in Byrd v. United States that the driver of a rental car could have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the car even though the rental agreement did not authorize him to drive it. We’re pleased that that the Court refused to let a private contract dictate Fourth Amendment rights in this case, and we hope it’s instructive to other courts, particularly those confronted with the argument that terms of service undermine users’ expectation of privacy in third party email. In Byrd, state troopers stopped Terrence Byrd while he was driving a rental car alone on a Pennsylvania interstate. Once the troopers realized he was not an authorized driver, they went ahead and searched the car, finding body armor and 49 bricks of heroin in the trunk. Byrd challenged the search on Fourth Amendment grounds, but both lower courts ruled that he did not have a Fourth Amendment interest in a car that he was not authorized by the rental company to drive. The Supreme Court disagreed..”

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