Making the Most of United States v. Jones in a Surveillance Society: A Statutory Implementation of Mosaic Theory

38 Pages Posted: 13 Jul 2012 Last revised: 2 Jun 2014

Christopher Slobogin

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Date Written: July 11, 2012

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Slobogin, Christopher, Making the Most of United States v. Jones in a Surveillance Society: A Statutory Implementation of Mosaic Theory (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. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2098002

Christopher Slobogin (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

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