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IPFS News Link • Courtroom and Trials

Supreme Court Essentially Nullifies 4th Amendment by Denying Ross Ulbricht's Petition


The court's refusal to review Ulbricht's case—in spite of the alleged evidence to convict him being warrantlessly obtained—shows the Fourth Amendment has been rendered impotent.

(FEE) — On June 28, 2018, the Supreme Court (Court) denied a petition by Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht that would have forced the Court to address where government surveillance and the Fourth Amendment intersect online. 34-year old Ulbricht, who is currently serving a double life sentence for a non-violent crime petitioned the Court to review his case; specifically, whether the evidence used to arrest and convict him was seized constitutionally or not. The evidence in question was obtained through warrantless government surveillance of the wireless router in his private home. The Court's refusal to review Ulbricht's case affirms an outdated legal precedent that essentially nullifies the Fourth Amendment in the age of the Internet.

In 2011, Ulbricht created the Silk Road, an online marketplace that allowed individuals to create accounts in which to buy and sell goods anonymously and securely. As some individual user accounts began to sell illegal items such as drugs, false identification documents, and computer hacking software, the site caught the attention of the media and subsequently the government. The government began monitoring internet posts from the site's administrator and were eventually able to link an email address, Internet Protocol (IP) address, and residential address back to him.

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