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Mosaic Theory and the Right to Search Guest Registries

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by David C. Lee
Without Prejudice
August 2015

David Lee's article, "Mosaic Theory and the Right to Search Guest Registries," was published in the August 2015 issue of Without Prejudice.

From the article...

"This recognition that a modern registry contains “sensitive [guest] information” portends a new potential battleground for privacy advocates. Although the Third Party Doctrine strips from a guest any reasonable expectation of privacy in volunteered information (that is, information provided to a hotel at check-in), Justice Sotomayor’s observations and characterizations fall in line with a new emerging privacy doctrine known as the “Mosaic Theory”. In short, that theory holds that when the collection of numerous “bits” of information are combined together to create a mosaic image of a person, the collection of such information by government without a search warrant could constitute a Fourth Amendment violation. For instance, hotels routinely collect vast amounts of seemingly innocent information about its guests at registration: name, address, phone number, etc."


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