WP Privacy and Technology in court

What If Autonomous Cars could talk !?

Hello, Your name is...

Oh Wait, they don't have to.
Their black boxes with all that data they collect is already tell tailing enough information, Information you might not want to be collected, let alone shared. (Government, insurance, criminals, jealous wives). It is only a matter of time now before this data may be used against you in a court of law. Knowing this would you change your behavior? Your driving style or the places you visit?

This is just one example of device data incrimination. Other examples include the use of fitbit data in court (US). Will widespread adoption of smart clothing outsmart you in the long run if they start collecting data which may be used as evidence against you ? Should we fear our device data as incriminating evidence ?

The debate in the US about privacy and technology in court is on the so called “A reasonable expectation of privacy" which depends under a given set of circumstances upon your actual subjective expectation of privacy as well as whether society is prepared to recognize this expectation as reasonable.

"The protections of the Fourth Amendment are clear. The right to protection from unlawful searches is an indivisible American value. Two hundred years of court decisions have stood in defense of this fundamental right. The state's interest in crime-fighting should never vitiate the citizens' Bill of Rights." - John Ashcroft, 1997

The subjectivity makes it rather vulnerable as cases have show.

  • Posting a tweet was considered analogous to screaming out of a window = no reasonable expectation of privacy and 
  •  ‘we are aware that cell phones can be tracked = we have no reasonable right anymore to expect privacy around phone records’


Does this mean that every time someone utters the one-liner Privacy is Dead, this human right gets eroded a little bit more ? Or can we reclaim that we do expect privacy even when we are outside in public space. A place that has served throughout history as vital for a democratic society. And even a place, as some argue, that was expected to grant more privacy than indoors (think of the secret garden preferred over eavesdropping house servants)

So instead of a whatever mentality lets discuss the widespread adoption of new technologies (Iot, smart meters, smart cities, cameradrones, fitbits and selfie-sticks-in-your-face)and how it may affect (our expectation of) privacy, autonomy in public places and our human rights.

"Judicial implementations of the Fourth Amendment need constant accommodation to the ever-intensifying technology of surveillance" (Dean v. Superior Court [1973]

to be continued

(We are working on a research project, if you want to know more get in touch)

Some Reads
Samuel D. Warren & Louis D. Brandeis; The Right to Privacy
John R. Parkinson
The criteria for Expectations of Privacy are: 1) general legal principles; 2) the vantage point from which the surveillance is carried out; 3) the degree of privacy afforded by certain buildings and/or places; and 4) the sophistication and invasiveness of the surveillance technology employed.

WORKS: MORE in Progress