Motel Decides It Should Just Start Faxing All Guest Info To Local Police Every Night

The Third Party Doctrine is ridiculous. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies routinely exploit this loophole to warrantlessly access all sorts of data because of the stupid assertion that anything you “voluntarily” turn over to a third party carries no expectation of privacy. The agencies blow right past the reality of the situation: that any “voluntary” exchange of personal data for services is anything but voluntary. Service providers won’t provide you with an internet connection or cell phone service without collecting massive amounts of usage data. Hotels and motels won’t rent you a room unless you tell them who you are and provide documentation to back up your claims.

So, it’s stupid all over and no one’s in any hurry to fix it because drugs need to be warred against and terrorists must be handcrafted by FBI undercover agents and the rest of whatever. The courts have generally refused to stretch the Fourth Amendment to cover the data created by these involuntary exchanges. That’s a problem and one that is only very slowly being addressed.

Motel 6 has just decided to make it worse. While warrantless access to motel records is being challenged in the Supreme Court, the chain has decided to preemptively strip away any privacy expectations that may result from court rulings and just hand it all over to law enforcement because sometimes criminals stay in motel rooms.

Link (Techdirt)

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