Should the Use of Automated License Plate Readers Constitute a Search After Carpenter v. United States?


This Note will analyze whether the use of information collected by automated license plate readers should be considered a search under the Fourth Amendment in light of the Supreme Court’s recent identification of a right to privacy in the whole of an individual’s movements. Given that automated license plate readers can reveal so many intimate details about our lives, is there a reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to the use of this information? Should a query of the aggregated data stored for each license plate be considered a search under the Fourth Amendment? Are there sufficient parallels between cell-site location information and automated license plate reader data so that a conclusion similar to that in Carpenter will be reached regarding automated license plate readers? This Note will argue that the answer to all of these questions is yes.


Privacy law, Criminal law, License plate readers, Carpenter v. United States 138 S. Ct. 2206 (2018), Fourth amendment



Stephanie Foster (Washington University School of Law)



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