U.S. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh is going into the U.S. Supreme Court nomination process with a thin record on corporate privacy issues, but his views on the limits of administrative power and personal privacy rights provide clues on how he's likely to approach looming questions over issues such as when consumers can bring privacy suits and how far the Federal Trade Commission can go to police data security failings, experts say.

The Supreme Court's last major privacy ruling in the private litigation context came in May 2016, when the justices held in a 6-2 ruling in Spokeo v. Robins that plaintiffs must allege a tangible or intangible concrete injury and cannot rely solely on a mere statutory violation to establish Article III standing.

The rise in the use of artificial intelligence, the emerging world of connected devices known as the internet of things and the expansion of electronic search methods have significantly enhanced the ability of both private companies and law enforcement agencies to scoop up information and build detailed consumer profiles — a development that has sparked a range of legal fights that will likely have to be hashed out by the Supreme Court in the coming years.

The court is expected to continue to be asked to weigh in on how the Fourth Amendment applies to new ways that the government has developed to electronically capture data useful in law enforcement and national security investigations, and, if confirmed, experts expect Judge Kavanaugh to typically take the government's side.

"Judge Kavanaugh is generally a strong advocate for law enforcement and would likely have been a dissenter in Carpenter," said Ed McAndrew, a former federal cybercrime prosecutor who now co-chairs the privacy and security group at Ballard Spahr. "I think he and [Justice Samuel] Alito will now form the pro-law enforcement wing of the court, if he is confirmed."

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