Skip to content
Name: United States v. Tosti
Case #: 12-10067
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 10/01/2013

Appellant, who had child pornography on his computer, surrendered his privacy rights when he brought the computer to a store for servicing. Tosti brought his computer to a store for repairs, knowing that a technician would inspect its contents as needed to complete the requested repairs. After finding a folder with pornographic images of children, the technician called the police, who viewed the images and seized the computer. After his arrest, Tosti’s estranged wife turned over additional hard drives containing pornography. Tosti appealed the court’s denial of his motions to suppress this evidence, and the appellate court affirmed. The Fourth Amendment does not prohibit governmental use of information after a defendant has given up his expectation of privacy in that information. Tosti knew the technician would be able to look at his computer files and he had no reasonable expectation of privacy in the images on his computer once the technician viewed them. The police only viewed images that the technician had already viewed. The court also rejected Tosti’s argument that his estranged wife had no authority to consent to the searches of the hard drives. Regardless of whether she had actual authority, the district court properly determined that she had the apparent authority to grant police access.