Fourth Amendment Posts

Is Biometric Surveillance Constitutional?

Can the Fourth Amendment Save Us from the Coming Era of Pervasive Biometric Surveillance? (“More and more, police have been using ‘biometric’ technologies—facial recognition, DNA matching, forensic genetic genealogy, and other techniques that are supposed to discern and verify people’s personal identities. As civil libertarians worry about such identification techniques’ effects on our constitutional rights, the techniques themselves are improving, the databases are getting larger, and the technologies are starting to converge. (It will soon be possible to match faces to DNA found at crime scenes.) What limits do we need to put on how the police use these new powers?”)

NSA Destroying Millions of Illegally Intercepted Call and Text Records

NSA Purges Hundreds of Millions of Call and Text Records: (“The National Security Agency has purged hundreds of millions of records logging phone calls and texts that it had gathered from American telecommunications companies since 2015, the agency has disclosed. It had realized that its database was contaminated with some files the agency had no authority to receive. * * * The agency began destroying the records on May 23, it said in a statement. Officials had discovered “technical irregularities” this year in its collection from phone companies of so-called call record details, or metadata showing who called or texted whom and when, but not what they said.”)

The CLOUD Act Remains an Enemy to Privacy and Human Rights

Somewhat Improved, the CLOUD Act Still Poses a Threat to Privacy and Human Rights: (“The president just signed a 2,232 page omnibus bill to fund the government and avoid another shutdown. This was a quintessential must-pass bill, and it was used as a vehicle to quietly push through the controversial CLOUD Act, which, though somewhat improved, still poses a threat to privacy and human rights.”)

Alexa and the Right to Privacy

Can Alexa Testify Against You?: (“We live in an age when increasing numbers of people rely on devices to turn off their lights, make a phone call, or set the morning alarm. This may explain why since its launch in 2015, Alexa—or what Amazon bills as a “virtual assistant” —has become a virtual extension of the lives of its estimated eight-million-plus owners.”)

US Supreme Court May Hear Case About Police Destruction of Property During Consent Searches

Should Cops Be Allowed to Rip Up Your Stuff While Looking for Drugs?: (“On April 10, 2015, Alexis Gonzalez-Badillo was standing outside a bus station in Laredo, Texas, waiting to board a bus to Houston. A uniformed police officer was milling about, searching for contraband. Their paths soon crossed, resulting in Gonzalez-Badillo’s arrest and setting off a long legal battle that may conclude at the Supreme Court in the coming months.”)

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