The Digital Age: How It Affects The Fourth Amendment

Dedrick Conway
8 min readJan 25, 2021


The fourth amendment is one of the foremost amendments, especially in today’s time where laws are put in place for almost everything. The laws of the past create a path for laws of the future and the U.S. Constitution has served as our pillar for all legal and political actions in America for more than 200 years. Throughout those centuries there have only been twenty-seven amendments created and permanently attached to the Constitution. With that being stated our Constitution is not just filled with amendments but amendments that hold value and American customs. The Fourth Amendment by the legal definition is the right of people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and the effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. This amendment reassures the privacy of citizens and people like us unless there is documentation (a warrant) out to give them a legal reason to not invade privacy until the law has a probable reason to search you.

The initial purpose of the Fourth Amendment was to set a limit on power between law enforcement and the government. But the digital age brought a whole new spin and a more intricate philosophy on how privacy has changed due to third parties. In this sense, third parties would be anything that you are associated with that is not necessarily public but is private information. This would be known to us in legal terms as the third-party doctrine. The third-party doctrine gives the government permission to a variety of “personal information such as what you look at on the internet, who you have communicated with via apps and email, phone calls with the duration, education history, criminal history, financial information, work history, residency, and family history. With this being stated if they have access to all of that personal and sensitive information a plethora of questions arise about the doctrine itself and whether is this still a practical way to approach the fourth amendment with the digital age being at its highest and everything moving to digital platform privacy may be a thing of the past.

Before the Digital Age

Dedrick Conway

Dedrick C. is a serial entrepreneur, indie author, ghostwriter, and artist expressing his perspectives through evocative literary artistry. Top writer in Art!