Cornell Law Review Volume 99 Issue 5

Digital Innocence

Recent revelations have shown that almost all online activity and increasing amounts of offline activity are tracked using Big Data and data mining technologies. The ensuing debate has largely failed to consider an important consequence of mass surveillance: the obligation to provide access to information that might exonerate a criminal defendant. Although information technology can establish innocence—an ability that will only improve with technological advance—the fruits of mass surveillance have been used almost exclusively to convict. To address the imbalance and inform public dialogue, this Article develops the concept of “digital innocence” as a means of leveraging the tools of Big Data, data mining, ubiquitous consumer tracking, and digital forensics to prevent wrongful convictions and to provide hard proof of actual innocence for those already convicted.

 

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