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May 08, 2014

Technology and the Fourth Amendment

Grade Level

High School


Wire-tapping, infrared sensors, pagerse, GPS, oh my! In the past century, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly addressed questions surrounding the use of new technologies to conduct searches and their relationship to the Fourth Amendment. Students will explore historic and current cases raising technological challenges to the Fourth Amendment. 


There are ten case studies included in the lesson packet. They describe ten U.S. Supreme Court cases from recent history related to technology and searches. A recommended procedure for this activity is to divide the students into ten groups and hand each group a case study. Allow each group to read and think about the case study, then ask all groups to report their findings to the rest of the class. Instructors could keep track of all cases on a dry erase board for the rest of the class as each group reports. Allow students to discuss the cases once they have learned about all ten--do they observe trends? End the activity by discussing any relevant current Supreme Court cases, or possible future cases. 

Session materials: