Today, we’re launching Digital Fourth Amendment Research and Education, a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit that focuses on producing empirical, peer-reviewed research into the surveillance state.
Fifteen months ago, a wave of surveillance revelations began that opened up a vast new field for researchers interested in the Fourth Amendment, its applicability to online environments, and its use and misuse to justify mass surveillance by the US government. “Surveillance Studies”, a subfield of sociology, has existed for many years and is influential in Canada and the European Union, but surveillance studies scholars have typically not used empirical tools to create a common set of facts to contextualize the discussion on surveillance and government power. That is our goal.
Our first working paper, Government Surveillance and Internet Search Behavior, co-authored by board members Alex Marthews and Catherine Tucker, was the most-downloaded paper on SSRN in July 2014, and will be submitted for peer review this fall. Over the next year, we will be supporting research into topics including open data and location tracking, and incorporating insights from law, economics, marketing and computer science. As we grow, we will be offering small grants to scholars to pursue this kind of research. If you are interested in helping support us, please contact Board President Alex Marthews at firstname.lastname@example.org.