Matthew Tokson on Government Purchases of Private Data

Is the Fourth Amendment doing any work anymore? In a forthcoming article entitled “Government Purchases of Private Data,” Matthew Tokson, a professor at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, details how, in recent years, federal and state agencies have begun to purchase location information and other consumer data, as government attorneys have mostly concluded that purchasing data is a valid way to bypass Fourth Amendment restrictions. 

Lawfare Senior Editor Stephanie Pell sat down with Matthew to discuss this article, where he attempts to bring this constitutional evasion to light. They talked about the two main arguments offered for why the purchase of private data does not violate the Fourth Amendment, his responses to these arguments, and the recommendations he makes to courts, legislators, and government agencies to address the Fourth Amendment and privacy concerns surrounding government purchases of private data.

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