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The Constitutional Protection of Information in a Digital Age

39 Pages Posted: 24 May 2014  

Gerard J. Clark

Suffolk University Law School

Date Written: May 2014


To state the obvious, we live in a world that is awash in information. Discoveries of new scientific information occur daily in the laboratories of the world. The Facebook accounts of millions of teenagers contain information about the love lives of their friends. Google traces the search information of its subscribers. Supermarkets use personalized discount cards to trace the purchasing preferences of their customers. The National Security Agency (NSA) has been building a one-million-square-foot data and supercomputing center in Utah, which is expected to intercept and store much of the world’s Internet communication for decryption and analysis. States maintain driver, tax, and voter records. All of these records contain information that can yield profit for some and embarrassment for others.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution dictates access to and dissemination of this information, whereas the Fourth Amendment limits such access and dissemination. Additionally, common-law doctrines of privacy, publicity, and defamation apply to this information, as do copyright, patent, and trademark law. State and federal legislatures race to regulate the collection, storage, and dissemination of this data and information in the public interest. This Article will review recent developments in the constitutional treatment of access to data and information, will comment on an illustrative group of statutory and common-law developments, and will discuss a number of current noteworthy controversies.

Suggested Citation

Clark, Gerard J., The Constitutional Protection of Information in a Digital Age (May 2014). Suffolk University Law Review, Vol. 47, p. 267, 2014; Suffolk University Law School Research Paper No. 14-14. Available at SSRN:

Gerard J. Clark (Contact Author)

Suffolk University Law School ( email )

120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108-4977
United States
617-573-8583 (Phone)
617-723-5872 (Fax)

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