CrimProf Blog

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Ferguson on Digital Policing and the Fourth Amendment

Andrew Guthrie Ferguson (American University Washington College of Law) has posted Why Digital Policing is Different (Ohio State Law Journal, Forthcoming) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
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 latter cases no longer control the analysis.

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