The Fourth Amendment
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
How does this translate in the realm of technology?
Over the years, with the growth of technology, the interpretation and scope for the right to basic privacy as established by the Fourth Amendment, has been regularly challenged. The following examples attempt to shed more light on the powers, authority, or rights that the Fourth Amendment establishes,given by the facts and rulings in each case. The Courts have had to determine what constitutes a “search”, a “seizure”, and what is considered as “reasonable” in each case.
1. Olmstead v. United States (1928)
Olmstead was running a bootlegging racket, off the coast of Seattle, during Prohibition.
The Police used wiretaps on his phone lines (new technology for that time) to listen to his conversations. On indication, Olmstead claimed that his right to be protected against illegal searches and seizures had been violated by the wiretaps, as the police didn’t have warrant to do so.
The Court disagreed with Olmstead stating that “The intervening wires are not part of his house or office.” 
Notes: Justice Brandeis, however, in contrast to the decision, asserted a general “right to be let alone” and added that “there is, in essence, no difference between the sealed letter and the private telephone message.” 
This implied that the Fourth amendment need not be limited to the modes of medium that was prevalent at the times of the drawing of the Constitution.
2. Katz v. United States (1967)
Katz used a public phone in LA to call other parts of the country to place illegal bets. The police recorded his conversations by setting up an electronic listening device in the booth. Katz claimed that this violated his Fourth Amendment rights. California claimed that Katz had no reasonable right to expect that his phone calls in a public phone booth would be private.
The Court stated that the Fourth Amendment applied to “people” and not “places” and that Katz was within his right to expect privacy in a closed public telephone booth. 
I think the considering that a person has a “reasonable” expectation of privacy in an enclosed “public” telephone booth, is important.
3. United States v. Knotts (1983)
Armstrong was suspected of purchasing chloroform to manufacture illegal drugs. Police tracked him down to Knotts’ cabin through the radio transmitter (a beeper) placed in the chloroform drum. The police acquired a search warrant and found evidence to convict Armstrong and Knotts. Knotts appealed claiming that the use of the beeper violated this Fourth Amendment rights.
The Court unanimously ruled that use of the beeper did not violate Knotts’s Fourth Amendment rights as there was neither “search” nor “seizure” involved in the monitoring of the beeper signals on an automobile on public streets. 
When it comes to automobiles (which are mobile and can result in loss of time needed to obtain search warrants), and the fact that they run on public roads (not limited to private spaces), it is interesting to know that one is not covered by the Fourth Amendment.
4. Kyllo v. United States (2001)
Kyllo was suspected of growing marijuana in his house. Police used thermal imaging equipment to scan the house and on studying the images detected that it was consistent with high-intensity lamps needed to grow marijuana. They obtained a search warrant, found the growing marijuana, and Kyllo was charged with violating federal drug laws. He appealed that his Fourth Amendment rights had been violated by the surveillance through the imaging equipment.
The Courts ruled that such equipment “was not in general use by the public at large and permitted for surveillance that would have been impossible without a physical intrusion into the property”. The evidence that was obtained through the imaging equipment was not allowed to be used. 
This was a clear breach of the privacy of the individual, as a private house was under uncommon surveillance without a prior search warrant.
5. Florida v. Jardines (2013)
Jardines was suspected of growing marijuana at his house. The Police used a trained dog to sniff the exterior of the house and it alerted them of marijuana at the front door. Based on this alert the police obtained a search warrant and subsequently Jardines was charged with drug trafficking. Jardines claimed that the evidence of the sniff “constituted an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment”. 
The Supreme Court ruled that “the government’s use of trained police dogs to investigate the home and its immediate surroundings is a ‘search’ within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.” and that there “is no implicit license to introduce a trained police dog to explore the area around the home in hopes of discovering incriminating evidence.” And as the officers were able to learn that marijuana was being grown in the home only by “physically intruding on Jardines’ property to gather evidence,” the search was unconstitutional in the absence of a warrant. 
As being tracked by sniffer dogs isn’t in the normal course of activities, and as the detection required intrusion into private property, the Fourth Amendment right were definitely violated in this case.
 (n.d.). Fourth Amendment. Retrieved from https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/fourth_amendment
 Technology and the Fourth Amendment. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.americanbar.org/groups/public_education/resources/lesson-plans/high-school/fourth-amendment/technology-and-the-fourth-amendment.html