When the government gets a warrant to search your client’s or your company’s computers for evidence of criminal conduct, some agents think they can look at absolutely anything. Not so, suggest several recent opinions on the subject.

As more and more data is stored in companies’ computer systems, the risk that investigating agents with authority to search for evidence of, say, defense procurement fraud might stumble upon, for example, tax violations is enough to make company lawyers plenty nervous. If an agent has a warrant to search the company’s computers – or obtains the company’s consent to search for certain items in the computer – is the company on the hook for anything else the agents might find? The answer, thankfully, is no, unless the agents play it by the book.

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