Muni network ownership and the Fourth

Dave Crocker dhc2 at
Tue Jan 29 16:23:48 UTC 2013

On 1/29/2013 7:59 AM, Jay Ashworth wrote:
> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Rob McEwen" <rob at>
>> (C) The fact that the Internet is a series of PRIVATE networks... NOT
>> owned/operated by the Feds... is a large reason why the 4th amendment
>> provides such protections... it becomes somewhat of a "firewall" of
>> protection against Federal gov't trampling of civil liberties... but
>> if they own the network, then that opens up many doors for them.
> Regular readers know that I'm really big on municipally owned fiber networks
> (at layer 1 or 2)... but I'm also a big constitutionalist (on the first,
> second, fourth, and fifth, particularly), and this is the first really good
> counter-argument I've seen, and it honestly hadn't occurred to me.
> Rob, anyone, does anyone know if any 4th amendment case law exists on muni-
> owned networks?

The challenge, here, is a classic 'natural monopoly' concern/argument. 
I don't know the right answer, here, but I think the frame for 
discussing it has a long history.


  Dave Crocker
  Brandenburg InternetWorking

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