Like a fullback opening a hole in the line for a following tailback, foreign law enforcement can blast a hole in Fourth Amendment protections by conducting a search of electronic evidence before U.S. law enforcement does. So ruled the Eleventh Circuit in U.S. v. Odoni. The court held that a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy in computer files that were previously searched by foreign law enforcement agents, meaning U.S. law enforcement could subsequently search those files without a warrant. It relied on the “private search” doctrine established by the Supreme Court inUnited States v. Jacobsen, in which the Court held that individuals do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in objects that have already been searched by a private party. The Eleventh Circuit found that this principle “applies with equal force” to items searched by foreign government officials.
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