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An Analysis of Protocols for Searches of Electronic Records Announced by the Ninth Circuit in United States v. Comprehensive Drug Testing

Text and instant messaging, e-mail, and other forms of written electronic communication are part of everyday life. As a result, electronic data is maintained and stored without much expense and there has been a dramatic increase in the number of records and documents stored in computer files, disks and other electronic formats. As electronic advances continue, courts are struggling to balance the constitutional right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, with law enforcements need in conducting searches, based on probable cause, to find and retrieve evidence of a crime where such evidence may be intermingled within thousands or millions of electronic records that would otherwise be private and inaccessible to state and local police and federal agents.

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