When we think about government surveillance, we often imagine something physical, like a police officer executing a search warrant on a house or car. But increasingly, government surveillance, including the everyday work of police departments across the country, involves remote electronic monitoring or the analysis of massive amounts of digital information.
A leading analyst of this transformation and of the implications it has for our privacy and security is Chris Slobogin, a professor at Vanderbilt Law School and one of the leading scholars of the digital Fourth Amendment. Lawfare senior editor Alan Rozenshtein sat down with Chris to discuss his new book, “Virtual Searches: Regulating the Covert World of Technological Policing,” in which Chris explains how the traditional legal framework for surveillance is out of date and what should take its place. Alan and Chris talk about the importance of taking a more flexible approach to what makes a search reasonable under the Fourth Amendment, and why it's so important for legislatures to pre-authorize any police surveillance techniques.