In the face of emerging technology, the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee of protection against unreasonable searches and seizures is especially susceptible to erosion. As Justice Scalia wrote in Kyllo v. United States, “[i]t would be foolish to contend that the degree of privacy secured to citizens by the Fourth Amendment has been entirely unaffected by the advance of technology.” In Katz v. United States, technology compelled a dramatic shift in the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Fourth Amendment. Prior to Katz, the Court generally interpreted the Fourth Amendment to prevent only the search and seizure of tangible things, and looked to areas of the common law, such as trespass, to determine whether government action violated Fourth Amendment rights. Katz marked a transition from the limited protection of tangible property to a broader concept of privacy.
M. M. Taylor,
Bending Broken Rules: The Fourth Amendment Implications of Full-Body Scanners in Preflight Screening,
Rich. J.L. & Tech
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/jolt/vol17/iss1/5