Gunfire Game Changer or Big Brother’s Hidden Ears?

Fourth Amendment and Admissibility Quandaries Relating to Shotspotter Technology

This Note argues that ShotSpotter’s gunfire recognition technology is constitutional and does not infringe an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights when it works as advertised. Considering the evolving nature of audio sensing technologies, ShotSpotter is a valuable asset to communities through its ability to identify the location of gunshots. At the same time, this form of technology raises legitimate Fourth Amendment concerns which necessitates an improved framework to approach these issues. In addition, this Note comments on the possibility of utilizing ShotSpotter data as evidence in trial. Finally, this Note proposes that ShotSpotter data should be constitutional, but warns that evolving technology has the capacity to implicate constitutional concerns if not appropriately monitored. Using a judicial bright-line framework, that divides gunshots and ambient noise, privacy interests can be adequately protected.

The full text of this Note is available to download as a PDF.