This page is a master list of all topics, lectures, and readings for the course. Some important notes:

  • The schedule may change at my discretion.
  • The assignments themselves (which cases to briefs, notes, and otherwise) are on Moodle.
  • For your convenience, I have linked some opinions here that are also in the book. Generally, use the book’s version, as Kerr shortens the opinions to just the relevant parts. I have provided some shortened/excerpted opinions that are not in Kerr; these are marked as such in the list below.
  • 591L-only material will be clearly marked as such.

Submitting assignments. You are expected to complete all assigned assignments and readings (including the numbered end-of-section notes) before each class meeting. You are responsible for submitting assignments by the course meeting in which they are discussed.

Assignments can be turned in only via Moodle and only in PDF format. Do not hand in a printout or email the course staff your submissions, as we won’t accept them or give you credit. Assignments are technically due at 9:00am, but as a grace period, Moodle will accept submissions until 1:00pm (the start of class). You can re-submit an assignment at any point until then. Assignments will not be accepted after this time. If you’re running close to the deadline, it’s a a good idea to submit some version of your assignment as you finish parts before 1:00pm, and then keep resubmitting to avoid any trouble with the server. Do not email the course staff after 9:00am with questions about the assignment or to notify us of trouble with Moodle, as we will not reply.

Grading. Each case you brief will be graded according to the briefing rubric. Each note you brief will be graded according to the note rubric. Other items will be graded as marked.

Course overview, Briefing, and the Katz test

September 6 Tue, 8 Thu

Please read the following chapters from Delaney and the cases before class. Olmstead will be discussed on September 6, but the brief is not due until September 8. After the first class meeting, you must read and brief cases before lecture — the first meeting is the only exception to this rule!

  • Delaney, Learning Legal Reasoning.
    • Read pages 1–5 of Chapter 1, which is offered free on the author’s web site.
    • Read all of Chapter 2.
  • Olmstead v. US, 277 U.S. 438 (1928)
  • Katz v. US, 389 U.S. 347 (1967)


  • Oyez has a case summary and the oral arguments for Katz; if you have about forty minutes, most of the arguments are fascinating. Highlights include a prescient discussion that will be revisited in Kyllo (around 11:30), and the attorney for Katz bringing up the idea of a new test for 4A applicability (starting around 21:00).

Chapter 2: Computer Misuse crimes

September 13 Tue

(Sections, like §2C, refer to sections from Kerr.)

  • §2C Unauthorized Access Statutes
    • §2C1 Statutes (18 U.S.C. § 1030)
    • §2C2 What is “Access”? (State v. Riley and Notes 1, 3, 4, and 6)
    • Read intro to §2C3; but skip Morris; then read Note 2
    • §2C4 Breaking contract-based restricted access (but skip US v. Nosal until next class)
    • US v. Drew
    • §2C5 Breaking community norms-based restricted access (EF Cultural Travel BV v. Zefer Corp.)


September 15 Thu


Chapter 5: 4th Amendment

September 20 Tue

  • §5A The Requirement of Government Action (US v. Jarrett)
  • §5B Defining Searches and Seizures (US v. David, US v. Gorshkov)

September 22 Thu

September 27 Tue


September 29 Thu


October 4 Tue

  • §5E The Fourth Amendment and Computer Networks
    • Analogies to Speech, Letters, and Telephone Calls
      • 4th Amend. protection for non-content Information (9th Circuit US v Forrester 2007)
      • No need to read Forrester’s more recent Supreme Court decision, but here it is: No. 09-50029 2009
    • 4th Amend. protection for content information (shortened version of Ontario v Quon)

Tor and “NIT” Warrants, Privacy

October 6 Thu

IN CLASS QUIZ! This should help you prepare for the midterm on October 18. Like the midterm, the quiz will be open notes but not open text. Read more details on the quiz.

Before the quiz, we’ll do a brief overview of Tor, and we’ll continue with Tor next week.

October 11 Tue

No class, Monday schedule.

October 13 Thu

We will continue our explanation of Tor.



October 18 Tue

There will be an in-class midterm exam on this date. Any material (Delaney, Kerr, other assigned readings, class discussion, notes) covered before the date of the exam may appear on the exam.

This exam is closed-book, but you are permitted to use your notes and graded briefs as reference during the exam. You may not include wholesale excerpts from the text in these briefs and notes. Expect us to audit the notes you are using during the exam. This should take less than five minutes per student. No collaboration between students is permitted. Violating these rules or any portion of the University’s Academic Honesty Policy will be considered academic dishonesty, and we will pursue the maximum possible sanction.

Tor, etc., continued

October 20 Thu

We will finish our overview of Tor, and discuss some of the readings from last week. Please also read:

Chapter 6: Statutory Privacy Protections

October 25 Tue

  • §6, §6.A, §6.A.1. The Wiretap Act: The Basic Structure, O’Brien v. O’Brien. As usual, and especially here, don’t skip the notes in Kerr; they are particularly important in this chapter.

October 27 Thu


November 1 Tue

  • §6.A.4. The Computer Trespasser Exception
  • §6.C.2. Compelled Disclosure Under §2703 (United States v. Kennedy)

November 3 Thu

November 8 Tue: Election Day

Remember to vote!


Cellular Networks

November 10 Thu


November 15 Tue


Chapter 8: FISA / National-Security-Related Activities

November 17 Thu


November 29 Tue


GPS and Remote Monitoring

December 1 Thu

IN CLASS QUIZ! This should help you prepare for the final. Read more details on the quiz.

December 6 Tue

We will do catchup on FISA and related in-class topics today. If time permits, also read:


December 8 Thu

December 13 Tue

Course wrap-up and review for final (primarily topics since midterm, but final is cumulative)

Final Exam

Our exam is scheduled for:

Engineering Laboratory room 304

Please note (from the Academic Rules and Regulations):

…it is University policy not to require students to take more than two final examinations in one day of the final examination period. If any student is scheduled to take three examinations on the same day, the faculty member running the chronologically middle examination is required to offer a make-up examination if the student notifies the instructor of the conflict at least two weeks prior to the time the examination is scheduled. The student must provide proof of the conflict. This may be obtained from the Registrar’s Office, 213 Whitmore.