Monday, December 2, 2013

reasoning by analogy

Not being a lawyer, I hadn't realized how challenging it is for lawyers to apply laws and cases from years ago to new situations, especially ones created by new technologies.  Politico has a nice piece explaining some of the issues involved.

For example:
Lower courts have been split on the authority of police to search your technology. Currently, court rulings have required warrants to search a cellphone in six states, while they are not required in 20 other states, according to a map put together by Forbes and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
One of the reasons the courts are divided, experts say, is that an important case on the subject was decided in 1973 and involved drugs found in a pack of cigarettes.
Reasoning by analogy can get you part way, but not all the way. Even action by Congress, if possible, would only deal with today's technology, not what might exist in just a few months.

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