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To have a reasonable expectation of privacy under the Supreme Court's risk-analysis approach to U.S. Const. amend. IV, two conditions must be met: (1) the data must not be knowingly exposed to others, and (2) the Internet service provider's ability to access the data must not constitute a disclosure. What a person knowingly exposes to the public, even in his home or office, is not a subject of U.S. Const. amend. IV protection. A person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.
Based on a series of online Internet conversations with defendant, a police officer concluded that defendant sought to entice a teenage boy to leave home and live with defendant. To determine defendant's identity and location, the officer obtained a state subpoena that he served on defendant's Internet Service Provider. The subpoena requested that the service provider produce any records pertaining to defendant's account. The service provider complied, and supplied the officer with the requested information. The subpoena was determined to be invalid, and defendant filed a motion to suppress the evidence gathered from his Internet Service Provider, as well as evidence gathered during a search of his home.
Under the circumstances, should the court grant defendant’s motion to suppress the evidence gathered from the defendant’s Internet Service Provider?
The court denied defendant's motion. The court found that, to have any interest in privacy, there must have been some exclusion of others from the information defendant had been placing on the Internet. The court held that defendant had no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turned over to third parties and, therefore, he was not entitled to U.S. Const. amend. IV protection.