Yawning gaps in the law empower police to collect and store massive amounts of data, all on the grounds that it might one day turn out useful

Emily Berman in the Boston Review:

As most people know by now, technology is dramatically reshaping the practice of policing. Consider how an investigation might unfold after a spate of shoplifting incidents at a big-box retail store. Authorities believe the same person is responsible for all of them, but they have no leads on the perpetrator’s identity. In a process known as “geofencing,” the police go to a judge and get a warrant instructing Google to use its SensorVault database—which stores location information on any Google users who have “location history” turned on—to provide a list of all cellphones that were within 100 yards of the store in the one-hour range of each day the robberies took place.

More here.