Court cases dealing with laws of new technology continue to set precedent for laws of future technology. With the advent of the telephone as new technology, courts had to determine a safe way to guarantee people’s right to privacy while also protecting the nation against criminals conducting internal crime or outside espionage through easier means. Similarly, email and cell phones created new difficulties for creating laws that governed new technology.
• Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in the late 19th century and shortly after this time, the new technology required legal interpretation regarding laws of privacy and individual rights. Once the telephone grew to widespread use, police officers and investigative bodies would tap phones without any consideration to personal liberty. Since their were no similar forms of communication prior to this new technology, few laws of governance existed to combat this practice.
• After the Supreme Court ruled that wiretapping was constitutional in 1928, the judicial body did not issue more complete laws of wiretapping until 1967 in Katz v. USA. The decision handed-down established that a warrant was now needed to wiretap an individual’s phone.
• During the latter part of the 20th century, common wired phones became outdated as new technology allowed for mobile and eventually cellular phones. Laws of governance regarding mobile phones posed a specific difficulty in relation to individual protection. Since each cell phone call emits signal to the closest tower it is possible to determine the caller as well as their location in many instances. Although the preordained laws of new technology remain in terms of wiretapping (although no longer actual wiretapping), cell phone calls are easily intercepted by certain devices.
• Privacy concerns and laws of new technology regarding email continues to confound lawmakers. Since emails pass through multiple computers on the way to their destination they are particularly open to interception. Following the attack of 9/11, certain liberties were reduced as a supposed attempt to reduce the change for foreign or domestic terrorism. These included stipulations that allowed voice-mails and email to be searched under a normal search warrant as opposed to the wiretapping requirement of a court-ordered warrant.
Laws of new technology will continue to change as current devices continue to adapt to a globalized world. The sharing of information rarely occurs over actual wires anymore and this void that the internet controls in a court of law requires concrete explanations. The Supreme Court needs to set-up invisible boundaries of space that each individual is entitled to, regardless of the arena.