Eight Nails into Katz’s Coffin

  • Amitai Etzioni
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan’s Studies in Cybercrime and Cybersecurity book series (PSCYBER)


The U.S. courts keep drawing on Katz v. United States in their rulings about whether or not privacy has been violated, which, from a social science viewpoint, is difficult to comprehend. The case is clearly based on untenable sociological and psychological assumptions. Moreover, many fine legal scholars have laid out additional strong reasons that establish beyond a reasonable doubt that it is unreasonable to draw on “the reasonable expectation of privacy” as a legal concept. Continuing to draw on this concept, especially in the cyber age, undermines the legitimacy of the courts and hence of the law. This chapter reviews these arguments in order to further nail down the lid on Katz’s coffin so that this case—and the privacy doctrine that draws on it—can be allowed to rest in peace.


Legal Scholar Reasonable Expectation Legal Concept Societal Expectation Fourth Amendment 
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© Amitai Etzioni 2015

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  • Amitai Etzioni

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