William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal


The Department of Energy has developed the "Enclosed Space Detection System" (ESDS), a search tool that enables officials to identify persons hidden inside vehicles at certain sensitive sites, such as nuclear facilities. ESDS operates by measuring the movements in vehicles generated by the beating of an occupant's heart. This Article considers the Fourth Amendment privacy implications caused by the advent of a technology so advanced that it can probe all the way to one's heart. Specifically, this Article critically examines the Supreme Court's Fourth Amendment precedent concerning the definition of a "search" and the application of the "special needs" doctrine to assess the impact of the heartbeat detector on privacy.