Washington Law Review


This article identifies three uses of big data that hint at the future of policing and the questions these tools raise about conventional Fourth Amendment analysis. Two of these examples, predictive policing and mass surveillance systems, have already been adopted by a small number of police departments around the country. A third example—the potential use of DNA databank samples—presents an untapped source of big data analysis. Whether any of these three examples of big data policing attract more widespread adoption by the police is yet unknown, but it likely that the prospect of being able to analyze large amounts of information quickly and cheaply will prove to be attractive. While seemingly quite distinct, these three uses of big data suggest the need to draw new Fourth Amendment lines now that the government has the capability and desire to collect and manipulate large amounts of digitized information.

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