Crisis in Fourth Amendment Jurisprudence

Document Date: May 1, 2010

From the Introduction:

As the rolling revolution in information technology continues to reshape American life, we need robust rules of the road more than ever to protect the privacy that Americans have always taken for granted. Unfortunately, when it comes to the constitutional amendment that most directly protects our privacy, the Fourth Amendment, federal jurisprudence has gone badly off track. The result is that we are unprepared for an onslaught of new technologies that will leave our privacy more vulnerable than ever in the years ahead.

We are rapidly moving into a new world dominated by biometrics, location tracking, social networks, pervasive surveillance cameras, data mining, cloud computing, ambient intelligence and the “Internet of things,” and a trend away from individual, case-by-case surveillance and toward wholesale, automated mass surveillance. The Fourth Amendment as currently interpreted was created largely in the 1970s by men born between 1898 and 1924. It is an edifice that is now, and will increasingly be, put under enormous stress, yet it is not structurally sound…

Sign up to be the first to hear about how to take action.