Kevin Johnson


Social media platforms encouraged millions of Americans to post hundreds of photos of themselves on the Internet. Clearview AI, a tool that harnesses “publicly available” online images for facial recognition, violated those platforms’ terms of service to collect those photos and in doing so de-anonymized millions of Americans. This Note examines the Fourth Amendment implications of law enforcement’s use of Clearview AI and its compatibility with constitutional protections. This Note argues that the use of Clearview AI by police to support warrant applications runs afoul of established legal standards by analyzing the evolution of Fourth Amendment jurisprudence in light of technological advancements.

The foundation of the argument is twofold: first, that the current jurisprudential landscape has increasingly recognized the need to adapt constitutional protections to the digital age, acknowledging the unique capabilities of digital surveillance to bypass traditional privacy safeguards; and second, that Clearview AI embodies a form of digital surveillance that is particularly invasive due to its comprehensive and indiscriminate collection of personal data. This Note delves into how Clearview AI’s capabilities trigger the very concerns the Fourth Amendment intends to protect against—preventing law-abiding citizens from being put in a perpetual police line-up without probable cause or judicial oversight.