Instead of a class project, seniors in Mr. Joseph Juliano’s Honors U.S. Government classes are entering the 2019 Ninth Circuit Civics Contest contest. Students may choose between an essay or video to address the driving question–what is a search and seizure in the digital age?

“This contest is specifically about the Fourth Amendment in the 21st century,” Juliano said. “A lot of this contest deals with the fact that we live in this changing world where so much of our information is now in our cellphones, and we can store and collect it digitally–and on top of that, share it with everyone else.”

Although the contest ends on Sunday, April 1, Juliano is encouraging his students to turn in their submissions by this Friday. To support their stances, students are researching supreme court cases that deal with technology’s impact on privacy and property.

“I have decided to write an essay [because] I hate making videos,” senior Kalea Hall said. “I am mainly focusing on the fact that the physical position of somebody’s technology is okay, but if you don’t have a warrant for whatever reason, you can check what they have on their person only. Going into someone’s phone or wire-tapping a phone conversation is illegal, and that is a specific situation where somebody expected privacy but wasn’t given it.”

The winners will be announced at the end of May. The first place winner will receive a grand prize of $2,000, while second place will earn $1,000 and third place will get $500.

“I think that it is pretty cool that we have an assignment where it mixes with an actual contest in real life and there’s actual prize money, so even though there is a very slim chance you can win the contest itself, I think it’s a great idea,” senior Vladan Grujicic said. 

Although submissions began in February, the moot court that Juliano had planned overlapped with the contest. Cutting it close with the due date, students are now preparing their final product within a week.

“I feel as though this is a really cool and relevant topic that my students feel strongly about or can relate to personally,” Juliano said. “Overall, I am feeling good about the topic, and I am glad that students are actually interested in it and want to speak their minds.”

Would you let your friends have access to your social media passwords?