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Office of News & Public Affairs

Boston College Expert: Surveillance Laws

Robert Bloom


(617) 894-1781 (cell)

Robert Bloom has been widely quoted by national and local media outlets on a number of high profile cases, particularly the James “Whitey” Bulger case. He specializes in Constitutional law; civil rights; criminal and civil trials; court system; police abuse; police use of informants; Fourth Amendment; police interrogation; judges and jurors. A former civil rights attorney and assistant district attorney, Bloom is the author of numerous books and articles including: Ratting: The Use and Abuse of Informants in the American Justice System and Constitutional Criminal Procedure.


“Since 9/11, the attitude of the people in the legislature has changed. The collection of data by the NSA has been found to be a significant intrusion of peoples’ privacy.

The first clause of the Fourth Amendment talks about reasonableness. The present Supreme Court has looked at that clause and determined whether or not a particular search was reasonable. In determining reasonableness, they weigh the government interest with the amount of the intrusion. Congress has weighed the government interest in national security with the intrusion of individuals and the gathering of data that in some cases is without justification. Congress has said, ‘We don’t like this anymore.’

The significance of the new law is a shift from security interests as a result of terrorism to a recommitment to concerns for individual privacy. 

Once the amount of government intrusion came out as a result of the Edward Snowden documents, people became aware of just what the government was doing. People were concerned, and so was Congress.”





Media Note: For assistance or to request a source on another topic, please contact Sean Hennessey, BC Office of News & Public Affairs: (617) 552-3630 (o);  (617) 943-4323 (c);


Contact information for additional Boston College faculty sources on a range of subjects is available at: /offices/pubaf/journalist/experts.html