The Privacy Protection Act of 1980: Curbing Unrestricted Third-Party Searches in the Wake of Zurcher v. Stanford Daily

This article analyzes the Privacy Protection Act as a response to Zurcher. Part I discusses the Zurcher decision and its effect on First and Fourth Amendment rights, as well as its impact on state testimonial privileges. Part II critically examines key features of the statute, focusing on the parties and materials protected, the police practices regulated, the remedies provided for violations, and the Act’s constitutional underpinnings. Part II also offers suggestions for remedying the problems the Act currently presents. The article concludes that the Privacy Protection Act, while a necessary first step to minimizing the impact of Zurcher, is inadequate to address all the issues raised by unrestricted third-party searches.