September 2014 Archives

What Rhode Island's New Social Media Law Means to Your Business

Social media's surge in popularity has caused a sea change in how people act and behave, as well as the image they portray, whether intentionally or not. It didn't take long for employers to recognize social media as a useful tool to learn more about potential new hires.

When It Comes to Your Cell Phone, What Does Your Right to Privacy Include?

If you are one of the more than 90% of American adults who own a cell phone, consider for a moment what your device contains. Millions of lines of text? Hundreds of personal photographs? Your internet search history? Confidential or proprietary documents attached to your work emails? Even more in salvageable deleted files or the cloud? Finally, ask yourself, would you like to hand all of this information over to the government? The Fourth Amendment is the part of the Bill of Rights that prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and requires any warrant to be judicially sanctioned and supported by probable cause. As such, a law enforcement officer cannot walk into your home or place of business and conduct a search on your computer, or look through your phone records, without a warrant. The U.S. Supreme Court has held, however, that a warrantless search may be reasonable if it falls within one of a few specific exceptions. One of those exceptions is when a warrantless search is conducted incident to a lawful arrest. The U.S. Supreme Court was recently called upon to consider the case of Mr. Riley, who was stopped by the police for a traffic violation. This traffic stop led to an arrest, which led to a search of Mr. Riley's person without a warrant. At the time, Mr. Riley was carrying his cell phone in his pocket. The police officer seized Mr. Riley's phone and, over the next few hours, the phone was searched. Based in part on information discovered in the phone, Mr. Riley was charged and convicted of a serious crime.

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