Data “Can Endanger No One”

June 25th, 2014

One sentence in the Chief Justice’s opinion in Rile is quite powerful.

Once an officer has secured a phone and eliminated any potential physical threats, however, data  on the phone can endanger no one.

Let that sink in. Data can endanger no one. If data and speech should be treated similarly, as the Court suggested in Sorrell, this language can be used as a sword against various forms of regulations that seek to regulate the exchange of information as data. I am thinking primarily about bans on the blueprints (data) of 3D guns, but it would apply much more broadly. Data, by itself, “can endanger no one.”