Public Surveillance Through Private Eyes: The Case of the EARN IT Act and the Fourth Amendment

2020 U. Ill. L. Rev. Online 167

11 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2020

Date Written: August 28, 2020

Abstract

A critical question (under the original or the amended statute) is whether the EARN IT Act deputizes Interactive Computer Service Providers (ICSPs) as outsourced private surveillance agents, such as to lay the groundwork for a springing Fourth Amendment violation. In that vein, this article proceeds in the following manner. First, it provides a brief explanation of Section 230 and the EARN IT Act. It then discusses the Fourth Amendment implications of the Act: 1) whether either iteration of the Act deputizes ICSP surveillance; 2) if it does, to what extent do individuals retain a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to the content they post on ICSPs?; and 3) finally, are the actions “encouraged” by the EARN IT Act otherwise reasonable under the “special needs” exception to the Fourth Amendment?

Keywords: Section 230, EARN IT Act, Provider Liability, Fourth Amendment, Deputize

Suggested Citation

Zabel, Joseph, Public Surveillance Through Private Eyes: The Case of the EARN IT Act and the Fourth Amendment (August 28, 2020). 2020 U. Ill. L. Rev. Online 167, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3682971

Joseph Zabel (Contact Author)

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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