The Fourth Amendment protects you from unreasonable police searches. The founding fathers, however, never imagined the modern computer era. Under current federal law, the police can obtain all kinds of information that you may have shared with third parties via your computer.

In People v Caira, the defendant had argued that his I.P. address should be private because it could reveal information about his physical location. The court, however, held that a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information that he or she “turns over to third parties even if the information is revealed on the assumption that it will be used only for a limited purpose and the confidence in the third party will not be betrayed.” The court held that police did not need a warrant because his I.P. address was shared with Microsoft whenever defendant checked his Hotmail inbox.

In prior decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court has stated that while the contents of your phone conversation might be private, the numbers that you dialed are not. Further, banking records were not private because they were shared with the bank.

If you are charged with a crime, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. An attorney can review your case to help determine your best possible defense. Maybe the search went beyond the information you shared with third parties. If so, an attorney can petition the court to have the results of any illegal search thrown out.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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