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Unlike the United Kingdom, U.S. citizens don't have an explicit right to privacy in the Constitution. Although there are implied privacy rights within "penumbras" of the Bill of Rights this has evolved into various laws that have changed depending on the situation... it's hard to sus though and figure out.

Generally speaking,

  • What frequently used law does does the Government rely on to search private property? (e.g. warrant, detainment, or arrest)

  • What "domains of authority" are relevant? Is it strictly hierarchical: local, state, Federal?

  • When can corporations, search private equipment without violating tort laws? (as the 14th amendment doesn't apply to them)

For a government example, despite schools having en loco parentis authority, private schools have more flexibility with the 14th amendment than state funded schools do.

For a private example, if I bring my laptop to a mall, does the mall security officer have the right to detain my equipment? ... or search it?

Furthering the private example, from what I can tell parents are always allowed to search the property of their children.

Motivation

My need is to identify a general framework of where exceptions to privacy may exist in the interactions of Government, corporations, and private citizen, and not be an exhaustive list.

My goal is to use this with instructional material to motivate people to care about computer privacy within those contexts, because often times people either share more than necessary, or don't guard themselves appropriately without thinking of the consequences.

closed as off-topic by RoraΖ, user45139, Xander, goodguys_activate, Steve Aug 5 '15 at 17:14

  • This question does not appear to be about Information security within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    Might be better for law stackexchange – Lucas Kauffman Aug 5 '15 at 16:06
  • Had no idea law existed! – goodguys_activate Aug 5 '15 at 16:09
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is requesting legal advice, which not only may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction but also from case to case, and so should be obtained from a qualified legal practitioner in the appropriate jurisdiction rather than from the Internet where the well-meaning and logical opinions you receive on the matter may leave you more ill-advised than if you hadn't asked at all. – Xander Aug 5 '15 at 16:19
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because I moved it to Legal.SE – goodguys_activate Aug 5 '15 at 16:26
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Probably not enough context to make any accurate determinations. But here is a shot at it.

What frequently used law does does the Government rely on to search private property?

The supreme court is pretty clear on this that they require a warrant. Even with a warrant, there is some discussions that if your data (hard drive, as an example) is encrypted, you can not be compelled to provide that password. (Of course, some judge could compel you.

What "domains of authority" are relevant? Is it strictly hierarchical: local, state, Federal?

Any of them.

When can corporations, search private equipment without violating tort laws? (as the 14th amendment doesn't apply to them)

Often, an employee signs an employment contract that may allow them to do "anything" This is a "work-around" that is often done in Europe to get around their "tougher" privacy laws.

For a private example, if I bring my laptop to a mall, does the mall security officer have the right to detain my equipment? ... or search it?

Perhaps. There very well be a "notice" posted that says you must comply with all the "rules" and the rules may include such searches.

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    Actually in Europe a company rule cannot supersede a law. Any rule requiring a violation of a law, is a violation itself. – Lucas Kauffman Aug 5 '15 at 16:05
  • And is as such void and non-biding. – njzk2 Aug 5 '15 at 20:29
  • "As in all EU jurisdictions, data privacy ... provides individuals with rights of access, correction, erasure, and objection with respect to any of their personal data being processed.[182] “[O]rganizations ... should” alert employees regarding how data “will be monitored on or collected from their personal device” as employees have the right to review records their employer maintains on them." jolt.richmond.edu/index.php/… – jwilleke Aug 7 '15 at 7:36
  • Your last point is incorrect, at least in the US. A private organization may require that you let them search your devices in order to get a service, but the most they can do if you refuse is to kick you out or refuse to service you, since you violated your contractual obligations. But there is no legal requirement for them to search your devices. – forest Apr 23 '18 at 4:41

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