Why Digital Policing is Different

40 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2022 Last revised: 23 Feb 2023

See all articles by Andrew Guthrie Ferguson

Andrew Guthrie Ferguson

American University Washington College of Law

Date Written: June 10, 2022


Many Fourth Amendment debates boil down to following argument: if police can already do something in an analog world, why does it matter that new digital technology allows them to do it better, more efficiently, or faster. This Article addresses why digital is, in fact, different when it comes to police surveillance technologies. The Article argues that courts should think of these digital technologies not as enhancements of traditional analog policing practices but as something completely different, warranting a different Fourth Amendment approach. Properly understood, certain digital searches should be legally distinguishable from analog search precedent such that the older cases no longer control the analysis.

Keywords: Criminal procedure, fourth amendment, surveillance, criminal law, privacy, police, policing, digital, technology, search, Carpenter, Katz

Suggested Citation

Ferguson, Andrew Guthrie, Why Digital Policing is Different (June 10, 2022). 83 Ohio St. L. J. 817 (2022), American University, WCL Research Paper 2022-22, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4133670

Andrew Guthrie Ferguson (Contact Author)

American University Washington College of Law ( email )

4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

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