In what scenario(s) a person doesn't have a reasonable expectation of privacy?

  • sending a traditional letter or parcel via the U.S. post
  • using work email account for sending private emails
  • making a cell phone call
  • listening to ones own cell phone's voicemail

Expectation of privacy is a legal test which is crucial in defining the scope of the applicability of the privacy protections of the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

1 Answer 1


I presume you are addressing the various wiretapping laws. In all of those channels, one would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, in contrast to using CB radio or a megaphone. However the context of using the instrument affects that expectation, for example if your phone is on speaker you do not have a reasonable expectation that those around you cannot hear your conversation, when there are others around you. Also, there is no expectation of privacy surrounding employers monitoring employee emails for valid business purposes – but the federal government can't intercept your emails (without a warrant) just because you are using business email. The expectation of privacy is really about the surrounding circumstance, not the instrument you use.

  • Thank you for your answer. I added the context of my question is the The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
    – LLub
    Feb 19, 2019 at 18:47

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