A Few Keystrokes Could Solve the Crime. Would You Press Enter?
"Suppose a laptop were found at the apartment of one of the perpetrators
of last year’s Paris attacks. It’s searched by the authorities pursuant
to a warrant, and they find a file on the laptop that’s a set of
instructions for carrying out the attacks.
The discovery would surely help in the prosecution of the laptop’s
owner, tying him to the crime. But a junior prosecutor has a further
idea. The private document was likely shared among other conspirators,
some of whom are still on the run or unknown entirely....
A list of users with the document would spark further investigation of
those accounts to help identify whether their owners had a role in the
attacks — all according to the law, with a round of warrants obtained
from the probable cause arising from possessing the suspect document....
But is this search...a good idea? And would it be, in the United States, constitutional?"