Faculty Sponsor

Scott D. Peterson

Final Abstract for URS Program

My research was focused on the ethical dilemma of police access to private internet data and how it pertains to the outdated Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) of 1986. This work contains a case study of serial killer Maury Travis, an overview of the history of the ECPA, an argument for why police should have access to private data, an ethical analysis of the two solutions to this dilemma, and an argument for what solution I believe to be the best one. My research concluded that the two possible solutions to this dilemma were to revise the ECPA or to replace it. I thoroughly analyze the lawmaking process as well as the possible consequences of each solution before concluding that revision is the most beneficial solution for all parties involved. My findings are significant as they define how out of date the ECPA truly is, and how precarious the position of the courts and police officers are when determining what is and what is not allowable when accessing private data.

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