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'EyePhones': A Fourth Amendment Inquiry into Mobile Iris Scanning

23 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2012 Last revised: 22 Jan 2013

Christopher Jones

University of South Carolina School of Law

Date Written: 2012


MORIS, or Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System, is a small device that attaches to a standard iPhone and allows the user to perform mobile iris scanning, fingerprinting, and facial recognition. Developed by BI2 Technologies, this device was recently made available to law enforcement agencies in America.

This article discusses the Fourth Amendment implications arising from the use of such a device, and asks whether a reasonable expectation of privacy exists in one's irises while in public spaces. The article explores past Supreme Court Fourth Amendment jurisprudence regarding the use of technology to enhance senses, abandonment, and the plain view doctrine in an attempt to determine when mobile iris scans would and would not be allowed by the Fourth Amendment.

The article also undertakes a state-specific analysis, asking whether the South Carolina Constitution offers any additional protection against the use of mobile iris scanners. Finally, the article raises a number of concerns regarding mobile iris scanners (and MORIS in particular), and offers suggestions for addressing the concerns.

Keywords: criminal procedure, Fourth Amendment, iris

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Jones, Christopher, 'EyePhones': A Fourth Amendment Inquiry into Mobile Iris Scanning (2012). South Carolina Law Review, Vol. 63, No. 925, 2012. Available at SSRN:

Christopher Jones (Contact Author)

University of South Carolina School of Law ( email )

Main & Greene Streets
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

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