Miami is no Different, So What happened to our Rights? Text Messages v. Email Communication

March 5, 2008 by David S. Seltzer

Not sure what I find more amusing, the fact that government agencies can get electronic text messages without a search warrant, or that fact that they think this behavior is legal. The right to be free from government intrusion has been a staple our constitution since the beginning of time. So tell me what the difference between an email and a text message is? Answer, for an email you need a search warrant which articulates probable cause, for a text message you need a government agent who believes they have reasonable doubt. But they both contain content, which under the current state of the law in this country REQUIRES a search warrant signed by a neutral judge.

Now as technology changes so does the law, so why haven’t the courts bought into this? In the past, the cellular phone providers didn’t log text messages. Some still don’t. So I can understand why subpoenas were sufficient for text message logs in the past, because there was no content. But today, with content being logged, why the courts having such a hard time grasping that content is content, and an email is no different than a text message.

Verizon Order to Turn Over Text Messages

What Right to Privacy?

Eventually this matter will resolve, but again, it will take time for it to filter through the courts. There is a judge out there who will be able to clearly see that content is content. Until then, we will continue to battle this issue in the courts.