Are police allowed to use heat seeking cameras in searches?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the United States, at least, police are not allowed to use such devices unless they have a warrant.  The case in which the Supreme Court decided this was the 2001 case Kyllo v. United States.  The Supreme Court ruled that the use of a thermal imaging device to "see" the heat coming from a house was essentially a search of what was inside the house.  Based on that logic, the device cannot be used without a warrant.  If the police do have a warrant, though, the use of such cameras or devices is perfectly legal.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial