The U.S. government’s action this week overturning the FCC’s recently passed privacy regulations and stripping the FCC’s authority to implement similar privacy regulations in the future, whether one agrees or disagrees with it, raises more questions than answers, and its long term implications are potentially far reaching and not very well understood. Indeed, by shining a light on the issue, the government’s action will undoubtedly unleash a torrent of efforts by politicians, legislators, regulators, judges, technologists and others to find ways to improve the Internet privacy protection of U.S. citizens.
At the very least, the government’s decision may well mark the death knell for the Fourth Amendment’s much-criticized third party doctrine, judicial support for which has been slowly eroding with the advance of technology and the Internet. See, e.g., the concurring opinions of Justices Sotomayor and Alito in U.S. v. Jones, 132 S. Ct. 945 (2012).
The government’s decision creates an enormous void in Internet privacy regulation which is bound