‘Mosaic Theory’ and Megan’s Laws

Cardozo Law Review de novo, p. 95, 2011

FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 563

12 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2011

See all articles by Wayne A. Logan

Wayne A. Logan

Florida State University - College of Law

Date Written: October 11, 2011


This essay urges reexamination of the privacy implications of registration and community notification (RCN) laws, commonly known as Megan’s Laws. Applying the analytic construct recently employed by the D.C. Circuit in United States v. Maynard to conclude that extended use of a GPS tracking device constitutes a search for Fourth Amendment purposes, the essay argues that the collection and aggregation of registrant data entailed in RCN implicates a protectable Fourteenth Amendment privacy interest. In both contexts, the government collects nominally public data – in Maynard, car travel, with RCN, registrants’ home/work/school addresses, physical traits, etc. – and creates an informational “mosaic” of personal life that would not otherwise practically exist.

With the Supreme Court’s recent grant of certiorari in Maynard (docketed sub nom. United States v. Jones), mosaic theory will soon be the subject of considerable debate. The essay seeks to contribute to this debate, pushing the applicable bounds of the theory and allowing for a more robust examination of RCN, as well as similar data-based social control strategies likely to emerge in coming years.

Keywords: Megan's Law, sex offender, privacy, mosaic theory, registration, community notification

Suggested Citation

Logan, Wayne A., ‘Mosaic Theory’ and Megan’s Laws (October 11, 2011). Cardozo Law Review de novo, p. 95, 2011, FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 563, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1942449

Wayne A. Logan (Contact Author)

Florida State University - College of Law ( email )

425 W. Jefferson Street
Tallahassee, FL 32306
United States

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