CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jones on Mobile Iris Scanning

Christopher Rutledge Jones has posted 'EyePhones': A Fourth Amendment Inquiry into Mobile Iris Scanning (South Carolina Law Review, Vol. 63, No. 925, 2012) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

MORIS, or Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System, is a small device that attaches to a standard iPhone and allows the user to perform mobile iris scanning, fingerprinting, and facial recognition. Developed by BI2 Technologies, this device was recently made available to law enforcement agencies in America.

This article discusses the Fourth Amendment implications arising from the use of such a device, and asks whether a reasonable expectation of privacy exists in one's irises while in public spaces. The article explores past Supreme Court Fourth Amendment jurisprudence regarding the use of technology to enhance senses, abandonment, and the plain view doctrine in an attempt to determine when mobile iris scans would and would not be allowed by the Fourth Amendment.

The article also undertakes a state-specific analysis, asking whether the South Carolina Constitution offers any additional protection against the use of mobile iris scanners. Finally, the article raises a number of concerns regarding mobile iris scanners (and MORIS in particular), and offers suggestions for addressing the concerns.

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