GigaOM, Derrick Harris, Nov. 9, 2011
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the United States
heard oral arguments in a case that could decide how connected the concept of big data is to constitutional expectations of privacy.
The case, United States v. Jones, is specifically about whether police needed a search warrant to place a GPS device on a suspect's car and monitor his movements for 28 days, but the Court's holding could have a much broader effect. Several justices seized upon a very important question:
How much data is too much before allowable surveillance crosses the line into an invasion of privacy?
In an article earlier this year about big data and the law (when Jones was known as U.S. v. Maynard), attorneys Nolan Goldberg and Micah Miller took a broad view of the appellate court holding that applies well beyond GPS devices:
Maynard suggests that a person's reasonable expectation of privacy in a data set arises, at a minimum, when the collection or compilation of the data set would not have been reasonably expected. The results of that collection reveal information specific to those individuals that cannot be discerned from the individual pieces of data constituting the set.