The government’s recent arguments against Ross Ulbricht would fit better in the 1770s than the digital age, blogs defense attorney Joshua Dratel. It is as if, according to the prosecution, the entire digital world and all its technology does not exist. Throughout fifty pages they fail to even mention the raft of important Supreme Court decisions upholding the need for digital privacy and Fourth Amendment protections of digital communication and information. (These cases include Riley v. California; US v. Jones; and Kyllo v. US). Dratel says the government’s arguments fail to recognize the realities of digitally stored and transmitted information. This failure demonstrates “the intellectual and legal bankruptcy of the government’s defense of its series of unconstitutional searches,” according to Dratel.
“Indeed, the government has retreated two centuries prior to 1979 – to the time of the American Revolution, arrogating to itself the power of the Crown: to search a person’s entire belongings, including his writings, without boundaries, without interference from the courts, and without legal recourse,” Dratel says.
This kind of general search is what the Fourth Amendment was designed to prevent. It is also what the defense’s motions seek to vindicate, not only for Ross, but for everyone living in the digital age. This is a “world that the Supreme Court clearly recognizes, but that the government – for transparent, cynical and specious reasons – refuses to acknowledge.” Dratel concludes.