Supreme Court: Fourth Amendment for Lawful Driver of Vehicle Regardless of Rental Agreement

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that a driver in lawful possession of a rental car has a reasonable expectation of privacy regardless of a rental car agreement. The Court held in Byrd v. United States that, “the mere fact that a driver in lawful possession or control of a rental car is not listed on the rental agreement will not defeat his or her otherwise reasonable expectation of privacy.” EPIC filed an amicus brief in the case, joined by 23 technical experts and legal scholars members of the EPIC Advisory Board, which stated that “relying on rental contracts to negate Fourth Amendment standing would undermine legitimate expectations of privacy.” EPIC also urged the Court to recognize that a modern car collects vast troves of personal data and “make little distinction between driver and occupant, those on a rental agreement and those who are not.” EPIC routinely participates as amicus curiae in cases before the Supreme Court, such as in United States v. Microsoft Corp., Dahda v. United States, and United States v. Jones.


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