Upon the ratification of the Fourth Amendment in 1792, the privacy of the home gained constitutional stature. Courts have zealously guarded the home from warrantless invasion by the government ever since. Now, a flood of consumer-adopted technologies that promise convenience and companionship threatens the inviolability of the home in Fourth Amendment jurisprudence.
This Note explores the technical, constitutional, and theoretical privacy concerns raised by widespread adoption of “smart home” technology. After discerning a novel conceptual framework for assessing the Fourth Amendment’s shifting contours in response to technological advances and assessing intersecting lines of applicable Fourth Amendment doctrine, the Note contends that data generated from within the home is worthy of constitutional protection. The Note concludes by suggesting that, rather than spelling the end of privacy in the home, smart home technology magnifies the “privacy as refuge” offered by the modern home.
* J.D. Candidate, Stanford Law School, 2020. I extend my deepest gratitude to David Sklansky for his guidance and profound insights. Many thanks as well to the editors of the Stanford Law Review—Tom Westphal, Nitisha Baronia, Justin Tzeng, Elisa Wulfsberg, and Nathan Lange, among others—for their invaluable editing and tireless work in bringing this piece to publication.