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Privacy in Plain Sight: Fourth Amendment Considerations for the Collection, Retention, and Use of Data By Law Enforcement in Public Places

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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Cities around the globe are implementing technology that provides an interactive experience for their citizens in open spaces. Transportation, infrastructure, parking, and lighting are all part of a smart city. Cameras, drones, facial recognition, kiosks, and geofencing are built into the platform as well however, the latter brings up privacy concerns as they pertain to government surveillance. This thesis examines how data collected using the open-source methods of smart city technology can be used by law enforcement under the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens from government intrusion. The Fourth Amendment has been the litmus test for what constitutes a search and seizure, and with a properly executed warrant or a subpoena, information can be used by law enforcement. This thesis explores whether the Fourth Amendment can withstand the test of technology, whereby data collected by a city can be used by law enforcement to solve crimes that occur in plain sight. This thesis follows the historical path of Fourth Amendment case law since the inception of technology and recognizes that legislation and policy should be enacted to identify the owner of the data collected and determine how long it should be maintained. Rather than easily accessing data, law enforcement may be required to show reasonable suspicion and obtain a warrant.

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Technical Report



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Approved For Public Release;

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