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Wed Jun 24, 2015, 09:49 AM

PA Supreme Court: IPad Texts Not Private Under Wiretap Act | The Legal Intelligencer

IPad Texts Not Private Under Wiretap Act | The Legal Intelligencer*

An iPad does not fall within the telephone exemption under the Pennsylvania Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act, and users of the device do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy when it comes to sending text messages, the state Superior Court has ruled in a case of first impression.

A three-judge panel of the court in Commonwealth v. Diego ruled Tuesday afternoon that having an informant relay to police officers text messages the informant received while setting up a drug deal did not violate the Wiretap Act. The decision reversed a holding from the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas to suppress the information.

Judge John T. Bender, who wrote the court's precedential opinion, said that, while the iPad was distinguishable from a phone for wiretap purposes, the defendant, Curtis Doval Diego, did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy for his texts.

In so ruling, Bender cited the 2001 Superior Court decision in Commonwealth v. Proetto, which held there was no reasonable expectation of privacy in sending emails or chat-room messages.

. ...


In April 2014, the state Supreme Court held in Commonwealth v. Spence that telephones are expressly exempt from the devices prohibited by the Wiretap Act regardless of how they are used.

According to Bender, prosecutors in Diego argued the Spence decision broadened the definition of an "electronic, mechanical, or other device" in the telephone exception in the Wiretap Act.

Bender disagreed.

"An iPad is not a telephone or telegraph instrument under a common understanding of the relevant terms, and no reasonable person familiar with the now-ubiquitous technology of tablet computers would misidentify an iPad as a mere telephone," Bender said. ...

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Reply PA Supreme Court: IPad Texts Not Private Under Wiretap Act | The Legal Intelligencer (Original post)
Panich52 Jun 2015 OP
Sanity Claws Jun 2015 #1
PowerToThePeople Jun 2015 #2
eppur_se_muova Jun 2015 #3

Response to Panich52 (Original post)

Wed Jun 24, 2015, 10:06 AM

1. Did the court compare an iPad message to snail mail?

Text messages and emails are like snail mail and people do expect privacy in these communications.

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Response to Panich52 (Original post)

Wed Jun 24, 2015, 10:10 AM

2. Idea, do not deal drugs to cops.

 

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Response to Panich52 (Original post)

Wed Jun 24, 2015, 11:55 AM

3. No, it is a superset of a telephone, so some expectation of similar privacy is reasonable.

Expect this one to be challenged.

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