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NSA Metadata Collection and the Fourth Amendment

22 Pages Posted: 27 Jul 2014  

Joseph D. Mornin

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Date Written: July 24, 2014


The Snowden disclosures have sparked public controversy and provoked constitutional challenges in federal courts. This Note aims to contribute to that debate in two ways. First, it collects information scattered across numerous government documents — some of which Edward Snowden has disclosed, others of which the government has declassified — to tell the story of the NSA’s telephony metadata collection program since September 11, 2001. Second, it assesses the government’s argument that call record data lacks protection under the Fourth Amendment. In particular, this Note asks whether the NSA’s prolonged collection of telephony metadata is consistent with Fourth Amendment doctrine in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in United States v. Jones, in which the Court raised serious doubts about the constitutionality of unfettered metadata collection and analysis.

Keywords: law, technology, privacy, surveillance, constitution, constitutional law, nsa, national security, fourth amendment, criminal law

Suggested Citation

Mornin, Joseph D., NSA Metadata Collection and the Fourth Amendment (July 24, 2014). Berkeley Technology Law Journal, Vol. 29, 2014. Available at SSRN:

Joseph D. Mornin (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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