Assume a defendant left an article of his clothing at a crime scene in 1981. At the time, the defendant had no idea that years later crime labs would be able to conduct DNA analysis of hairs present on that clothing. And in leaving the clothing, he certainly intended to do so “anonymously.” On those grounds, would the defendant be able to suppress the results of the DNA analysis? Of course not, because he left the clothing in a public place and lost any expectation of privacy he had in it, regardless of how he contemplated that clothing could be used. The same would have been true if in an earlier age a defendant had tried to argue that he meant to leave a cigarette butt in a public space, but had not intended to leave his latent fingerprint that law enforcement used to identify him. And the same is true for the image that Post uploaded to the website: once it was left in a public place, he no longer had a Fourth Amendment privacy interest in it.
No Fourth Amendment right in metadata embedded in posted photo, court holds