The Lingering Privacy Concerns on High-Tech Surveillance and Monitoring of the Public

Many of us waited for months for the U.S. Supreme Court to issue its opinion in United States v. Jones, hoping upon hope to receive guidance on the rapidly evolving legal and policy issues related to innovative electronic technologies being reviewed and used by police agencies across the United States. Finally, the highest U.S. court had a case in front of it that could provide a platform for a much-needed legal analysis that might provide law enforcement with some guidance—not just on the use of GPS tracking devices, but also on the use of new surveillance technology in general. Many police agencies already have deployed or are considering deploying devices such as high-tech surveillance cameras, automated license plate readers, facial recognition software, and even unmanned drones.

While Jones was pending, many hoped the court would take the narrow issue presented as a gateway to discuss several related legal and policy issues that have arisen as agencies consider just how to deploy these new technologies.