For many purposes, and for most of us, the digital world has become the same as the physical world. Even though I “write” it, this blog exists because of the internet and technology and not pen and paper. You don’t call or send me a letter in response, you send me a digital “comment.” I “own” the domain in my own name, but I can’t produce this blog without help from third parties.
I contract with WordPress.com to provide the platform. Before I complete this post, I will have written drafts of it. Those drafts “revisions” can be accessed by me. They are stored on WordPress servers–I think the servers belong to WordPress.com but I am not really sure. Since I also “write” using my Google Chromebook, I have taken to savings things (like media I use on the blog) to the Google Cloud. By the way, I trust Google more than I trust the government.
Now, let’s assume that some government official wants to know what my drafts looked like on my earlier controversial post about what women wear to court. On some posts, I go through 30 to 40 drafts. Do I have an expectation of privacy in my drafts even though I have “shared” them with third parties?
Scott Greenfield gets at this important “sharing” issue today. Scott H. Greenfield, The Simpleton’s Guide To The Third Party Doctrine, Simple Justice (May 5, 2014). I urge you to go over there and read what he has written.
PS SHG is a great writer and a no bullshit realist. He would make a super federal trial judge because of those attributes and, as important, because of his real life trial experiences. Mostly, I would love to read what he writes as a judge just to see how his mind would evolve when he was forced to pull the “it is so ordered” trigger.