Making the Most of United States v. Jones in a Surveillance Society: A Statutory Implementation of Mosaic Theory
Vanderbilt University - Law School
July 11, 2012
Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy, Forthcoming
Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 12-22
Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 12-29
In the Supreme Court’s recent decision in United States v. Jones a majority of the justices appeared to recognize that under some circumstances aggregation of information about an individual through government surveillance can amount to a Fourth Amendment search. If adopted by the Court, this notion — sometimes called “mosaic theory” — could bring about a radical change to Fourth Amendment jurisprudence, not just in connection with surveillance of public movements — the issue raised in Jones — but also with respect to the government’s increasingly pervasive record-mining efforts. One reason the Court might avoid the mosaic theory is the perceived difficulty of implementing it. This solicited article provides, in the guise of a model statute, a means of doing so. More specifically, this article explains how proportionality reasoning and political process theory can provide concrete guidance for the courts and police in connection with physical and data surveillance.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 38Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 13, 2012 ; Last revised: December 21, 2012
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