Warrantless police access to hotel records

Time to rethink a traditional law enforcement practice? “In City of Los Angeles v. Patel, which will be argued in the Supreme Court March 3rd, a group of hoteliers have challenged the city’s ordinance requiring them to hand over customer data whenever a police officer wants it.” The innkeepers prevailed in an en banc Ninth Circuit ruling and the case is now before the high court [Jim Harper, Cato] More: Tim Cushing, TechDirt.


  • I write to point out that this is not a case of an individual traveller (or travellers as a group) complaining of a violation of the fourth amendment. As odious as it seems, there does not seem to be any prohibition on the hoteliers voluntarilly giving up their records. Thus, it seems that, once you give a business your information, you have forfeited your rights to the information under the fourth amendment.

    I agree with the CATO view. The government should not be able to search those records without permission from the record holder or a warrant.

  • […] warrantless access to hotel guest registries [James Copland on Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz brief; earlier Cato […]