Datamining and the Fourth Amendment:
Today the Sixth Circuit handed down a Fourth Amendment case that addresses an interesting issue: Does querying a database trigger Fourth Amendment protection? The majority concludes that it does not: If the government collected the data in the database in compliance with the Fourth Amendment, analyzing that data does not implicate the Fourth Amendment. This is correct: broadly speaking, the Fourth Amendment regulates the collection of evidence, not the analysis of data already collected.

  Judge Karen Nelson Moore dissents, arguing among other things that the policy concerns raised in Fourth Amendment cases suggests that this may be incorrect. My sense, though, is that Judge Moore is confusing two steps: she is using the policy framework applicable to determine the reasonableness of a search, while the issue here is whether any search at all occurred.

  Hat tip: Howard, who (I am happy to report) is back from vacation.