Technology Flirting with the 4th Amendment

The Fourth Amendment guarantees us an expectation of privacy. Under the 4th citizens have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.  The crux in the future is going to be what is “reasonable”?  In law the standard is referred to as the “reasonable person” but at times this person seems to be anything but.  We are given a standard which is movable and malleable yet expected to be constant.
Most of us know social media and over-sharing has caused even the once immune celebrities to think twice about what information they disseminate because it ends up in the hands of those they least expect; 50 Cent vs Bankruptcy Judge (LINK).  But, what about the technology is designed to see the unseen?
Its no secret that surveillance and monitoring equipment has had to step up its game because criminals are in fact getting smarter (some of them).  To counteract this surge of tech savvy criminal law enforcement adopts new technology that walks a fine line between a violation of privacy and intelligence gathering.
Police and law enforcement are placed in a difficult position.  They need to follow the rules to catch criminals that clearly do not care about them.  One recently discovered piece of spy technology was the Stingray.  This device tricks cell phones into thinking its a cell tower thereby intercepting any information being relayed in real time.
Stingray_Harris_handle_side
But, what about conversations that are personal, behind closed doors and out of earshot?  Well there is technology headed in that direction as well.  Research into using vibrations and light to determine what sounds are being produced regardless of whether or not they can be heard.  It seems like something out of Star Trek, but it does exist and in a few years may be the new way to fight crime.  But, will it breach out expectations of privacy and trigger the all famous “fruit of the poisonous tree” defense?  We shall see.
Silent Footage turned into sound.
Technology will certainly be at issue in criminal law, intellectual property law and most importantly Constitutional law.  The future of technology may be hampered or propelled by technology but how that all pans out may be in the hands of the yet to be appointed 9th Supreme Court Justice.  At this point the court can split 4 v 4 on every important issue thereby punting to the next generation, but this crucial 9th justice will be critical one way or the other..
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s