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47 Hofstra L. Rev. 995 (2018-2019)
Search Warrants in the Digital Age

handle is hein.journals/hoflr47 and id is 1025 raw text is: 


                            Yuval Simchi-Levi*

                            L  INTRODUCTION
      Digital devices  and  social media  are a  major  part of  American
 society, given the increasing use of smart  phones.  Chief Justice John
 Roberts observed  that such  cell phones are so prevalent  in society that
 the proverbial visitor from Mars   [would]  conclude  that they were  an
 important feature of human  anatomy.'  One  study estimated that seven-
 in-ten Americans  use  social media  to connect with  one  another ....
 This is not surprising considering that in 2016, eighty-one percent of all
 cell phones in the United States were smartphones.3
     Given  the  ubiquity of social media  and  digital storage devices' in
American   society, criminals, witnesses,  and victims  are likely to have
social media  accounts  as well as cell phones. It should be  obvious  that
today, digital storage devices and  social media accounts  contain a trove
of  evidence  necessary  to investigate and prosecute  almost  any  crime.
Whenever there 'is   a mass  shooting  in the United  States, it is almost
reflexive for law enforcement  and  the media simply  to look at the public
postings  on the perpetrator's social media  to determine  the  motive  for
the tragedy.' As one journalist wrote, social media is often the best way

     *  Yuval Simchi-Levi is an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District
Attorney's Office. The views expressed in this Article are his own. The Author wishes to thank
Timothy C. Stone for his valuable comments and insight.
     1. Riley v. California, 573 U.S. 373, 385 (2014).
     2. Social Media Fact Sheet, PEW RES. CTR. (Feb. 5, 2018), http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-
    3.  Tessa Jolls & Michele Johnsen, Media Literacy: A Foundational Skill for Democracy in
the 21st Century, 69 HASTINGS L.J. 1379, 1404 (2018).
    4. In this Article, I refer to digital storage devices in a broad sense to refer to devices that
contain digital evidence, such as cell phones, computers, laptops, iPads, and flash drives. See, e.g.,
Orin S. Kerr, Executing Warrants for Digital Evidence: The Case for Use Restrictions on
Nonresponsive Data, 48 TEx. TECH. L. REv. 1, 2 n.1, 12 (2015).
    5. Jonathan Mahler & Julie Turkewitz, Ex-Soldier with a Troubled Past and an Interest in
Black Power  Groups, N.Y. TIMES, July 9, 2016, at A13, https://www.nytimes.com/


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