The unresolved issues between the Fourth Amendment and the third-party doctrine provide first responders with challenges in their approach to meet the needs of any emergency they may be called for. A first responder needs to provide help quickly, and often this does not leave much time to think about the legal implications of some of their actions. With the rise of the Internet, the challenges of terrorism, and WikiLeaks, first responders are no longer sheltered from the legal implications that the use of information from online and other secondary sources may have. Specifically, privacy concerns may be raised when first responders use social media either as a tool to gather information about evolving emergencies, or to engage in the process of monitoring those media to detect potential threats to the safety of the country and its citizens. This paper will address some challenges first responders face when considering the third-party doctrine principles and the Fourth Amendment in their rescue efforts. What are some liability and legal concerns in the context of what first responders encounter when responding to potential threats? The paper will also include a discussion of practical experiences with the Fourth Amendment and third-party doctrine principles and explore liability issues related to first responders' use of information.
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