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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: August 2019

1 - The Cost–Benefit Analysis Theory


Chapter 1 of the book describes the the cost–benefit analysis theory in more detail by examining how to measure the costs of different types of surveillance, particularly their cost to our privacy. Currently the Supreme Court has the task of determining these costs, but it is poorly situated to make these determinations. Under the current regime, the Court usually can only tell us whether the intrusiveness of a certain type of surveillance passes a certain threshold of intrusiveness – that is, whether the surveillance is a “search.” But the cost–benefit theory requires a more precise calculation of the level of intrusiveness; it requires a measurement of the degree to which the surveillance infringes on our privacy. Furthermore, the Supreme Court decides only one or two cases a year on this issue, which is insufficient to keep up with the myriad of new types of surveillance that occur in modern investigations.

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