Computer Manufacturer

People often fear, especially in today's digital age, that the government is watching our every move. While the digital age itself may make it easier for the government to gather data that is put in public places -- like on social media sites -- there are restrictions in place for actual surveillance tactics, such as wiretapping. People are protected under the Fourth Amendment.

A Search

The Fourth Amendment was, of course, written long before electronic communication was even being considered on the scale it's used now. Wiretapping did not exist. However, the Fourth still applies because it protects people from unreasonable searches. Using a bug on a phone or some similar method has been classified as a "search" by the courts, giving citizens the same rights they'd have if the police wanted to physically come into their homes.

Surveillance Is Still Possible

One key thing to remember is that the Fourth Amendment does not make searches or wiretaps illegal. It just makes it so that the authorities need to have probable cause and, in the vast majority of cases, a warrant. This makes such searches "reasonable." If one has been carried out, your rights may not have been violated, as long as the police had a strong reason to do it, got a warrant from a judge, and followed all of the proper procedures along the way.

However, if they did not follow these steps, electronic surveillance of any type -- this goes beyond simple wiretaps -- may have violated your rights. If it did, you can ask the court to throw out all evidence that was gathered that way. In cases where the main evidence was obtained illegally, this can even mean that the case ends up being dropped since the police don't legally have anything on you.

Your Rights

Clearly, it's very important to know your rights and how they've been expanded since they were written to take into account the modern advances in technology. You should not have to be subjected to illegal searches, and, if you've been charged with a crime because of one, you must know the next legal steps to take.