Sewage Monitoring for Criminal Investigation and the Protection of Home Life

71 Pages Posted: 23 May 2019

See all articles by Bert-Jaap Koops

Bert-Jaap Koops

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT)

Ivan Škorvánek

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT)

Bart van der Sloot

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT)

Date Written: April 24, 2019

Abstract

The fundamental right to inviolability of the home has traditionally been interpreted to protect people from physical intrusions into their homes. The growing use of technologies for non-physical intrusion into the home, enabling surveillance from the outside by law enforcement, makes home life more transparent without investigating officers having to physically enter. Sewage monitoring is an emerging new form of surveillance of the home from the outside, which potentially impacts the level of protection of home life in practice and in the law. The purpose of this paper is to survey forms of surveillance of the home similar to sewage monitoring, describe how German, Polish and Dutch law regulate these forms of surveillance, and suggest improvements to the legal framework so that people’s fundamental right to protection of their home life remains sufficiently safeguarded. We group surveillance of the home from the outside into five groups: waste monitoring, monitoring of emanations, audio-visual surveillance, access to data in the home, and out-of-home access to data about home life. Our analysis shows that visual surveillance, acoustic surveillance, and access to data in and about the home are relatively well-regulated, usually with a sufficiently clear legal basis and considerable safeguards, thus offering generally adequate legal protection. In contrast, regulation of domestic waste (garbage and sewage) monitoring and monitoring of emanations from the home (heat, smell, electromagnetic waves) is less clear. Although these surveillance measures seem less serious interferences with inviolability of the home, law-makers should clarify the legal basis for these methods and the conditions applying to them. We conclude that legal systems will need to develop ways to more clearly distinguish between minor, more than minor, and very serious interferences with inviolability of the home. The Dutch systematicness requirement and the German protection of the core area of private life are useful starting points for developing a more comprehensive normative framework that can deal with non-physical intrusions of the home as well as current legal frameworks regulate physical intrusions of the home.

Keywords: privacy, sewage monitoring, surveillance, drugs, home life, home protection, fundamental rights

JEL Classification: K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Koops, Bert-Jaap and Škorvánek, Ivan and van der Sloot, Bart, Sewage Monitoring for Criminal Investigation and the Protection of Home Life (April 24, 2019). Tilburg Law School Research Paper, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3377481 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3377481

Bert-Jaap Koops (Contact Author)

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) ( email )

P.O.Box 90153
Prof. Cobbenhagenlaan 221
Tilburg, 5037
Netherlands

Ivan Škorvánek

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) ( email )

Tilburg
Netherlands

Bart Van der Sloot

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) ( email )

P.O.Box 90153
Prof. Cobbenhagenlaan 221
Tilburg, 5037
Netherlands

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
17
Abstract Views
164
PlumX Metrics