State-Sponsored Hash Searches & the Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

Tiffany Ku

Volume 69, Online, 28-51

This Note examines whether, under the Fourth Amendment, the United States government can conduct searches based on hash encryption to comb through large digital databases such as the cloud and find files known to be incriminating. “Hashing” is an encryption process which assigns each encrypted file its own mathematically unique identifier called a hash value. The chances of two files having the same hash value is so improbable as to be almost impossible, unless the two files are exactly the same. A file with a minor edit, such as a document with one added period, will be assigned a completely new hash value by the algorithm. Thus, if two hash values match up, a person (or a computer) can know with certainty, without opening either file, that the files are exactly the same.

In the context of national security, hash values present a powerful opportunity to find criminal collaborators. If the government lawfully seizes one copy of a criminal plan, the government could then use hash searching to quickly identify co-conspirators by searching through the cloud for other accounts storing the same hash value. This Note considers whether the government can run hash searches on large databases without violating the Fourth Amendment. First, the Note locates hash searching within existing Fourth Amendment doctrine and discusses whether hash searches, particularly those conducted by computers, require a warrant. After examining whether existing warrant exceptions apply to hash searches it turns to consider, in the alternative, whether a warrant application based on a hash search could survive Fourth Amendment requirements such as particularity. The Note argues that hash searches fall under existing exceptions to the warrant requirement. In the alternative, hash searching’s extreme object particularity will satisfy the warrant requirement even in the absence of particularity regarding target identity and file location.

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Driverless Vehicles: Opportunity for Further Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions Under California AB 32

Keiichiro Zushi

Volume 69, Online, 1-27

Fully-automated driverless vehicles could not only provide a convenient means of transportation to many, but also become an effective tool to reduce greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions if properly regulated. To ensure that driverless vehicles help achieve California’s emission reduction goals beyond 2020, when driverless vehicles could become commercially available, this Note proposes several regulatory schemes to achieve efficient fuel economy for driverless vehicles, foster the use of fully-automated, shared driverless vehicles that would supplement public transportation systems, and prevent urban sprawl that could be caused by the use of driverless vehicles.

This Note also addresses the implications for auto manufacturers, transportation network companies (“TNC”), software developers, real estate developers, and the retail and service industry. This Note does so by primarily examining existing regulations intended to reduce the transportation-sector emissions under Assembly Bill 32 (“AB 32”), the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, Senate Bill 375 (“SB 375”), the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, and the potential impacts that driverless vehicles could have on GHG emissions based on expert opinions and literature review.

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