Technology's Continuum: Body Cameras, Data Collection, and Constitutional Searches
in Visual Imagery and Human Rights Practice (Monroe Price & Sandra Ristovska eds., 2018 Forthcoming).
21 Pages Posted: 6 Sep 2017
Date Written: September 1, 2017
Police body camera programs have the potential to strengthen accountability for police violence, improve oversight of police-citizen interactions, and enhance public trust in law enforcement. Yet these same cameras could also evolve into surveillance and evidence collection devices that may infringe on constitutional privacy rights. This Chapter considers constitutional privacy constraints on police body camera recordings inside of the home, a space that has traditionally received heightened privacy protections. I find that the way judges analogized early police video recordings to prior technologies — specifically to still photographs, to audio recordings, and to the human eye — biased courts against applying robust constitutional privacy protections to police video recordings. By suggesting that today’s body cameras are instead better understood as part of a technological continuum of wearable and indiscriminate sensor-data collection devices, I seek to open a new doctrinal space to consider the constitutional privacy consequences of body camera programs.
Keywords: body cameras, video evidence, Fourth Amendent, search and seizure, data collection, privacy
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