Tracking Phones, Google Is a Dragnet for the Police

Discussion in 'privacy general' started by hawki, Apr 13, 2019.

  1. hawki

    hawki Registered Member

    Dec 17, 2008
    DC Metro Area
    "The tech giant records people’s locations worldwide. Now, investigators are using it to find suspects and witnesses near crimes, running the risk of snaring the innocent...

    The warrants, which draw on an enormous Google database employees call Sensorvault, turn the business of tracking cellphone users’ locations into a digital dragnet for law enforcement...

    Technology companies have for years responded to court orders for specific users’ information. The new warrants go further, suggesting possible suspects and witnesses in the absence of other clues. Often, Google employees said, the company responds to a single warrant with location information on dozens or hundreds of devices...

    The new orders, sometimes called “geofence” warrants, specify an area and a time period, and Google gathers information from Sensorvault about the devices that were there. It labels them with anonymous ID numbers, and detectives look at locations and movement patterns to see if any appear relevant to the crime. Once they narrow the field to a few devices they think belong to suspects or witnesses, Google reveals the users’ names and other information...

    ...[M]ost Android devices and some iPhones ...had this data available from Google...

    ...[D]etectives noted how precise the data was and how it was collected even when people weren’t making calls or using apps — both improvements over tracking that relies on cell towers...

    'It shows the whole pattern of life,' said Mark Bruley, the deputy police chief in Brooklyn Park, Minn...'..."

    Long Read
  2. Stefan Froberg

    Stefan Froberg Registered Member

    Jul 30, 2014
    Dang.... Seems that if you want to use Android phone and avoid Google spying the only options are using custom ROM and only open source stuff for apps (for example, replacing Google Play with F-Droid)
  3. mood

    mood Updates Team

    Oct 27, 2012
    Google faces surge in police requests for mobile location data
    It raises questions about the necessity of the information
    April 14, 2019
  4. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

    Nov 20, 2004
    Here, There and Everywhere
    I have been a fan of Apple and their privacy views for a long time. However, I'm not stupid, I think it's a business decision as much as anything. By not being able to hand over information - their requests for information have nosedived to nearly nothing. Compare that to the man hours at Google dealing hourly with law enforcement from all over the world. Google has made their bed ... will they continue to lie in it? Absolutely. They have to. Google is a data company - data and advertising. They have no choice but to stick with their business model. If they did what Apple does (they simply don't have the key - or pieces to be personally identifiable) they would be finished. But then again, Apple is not a data company. Why Apple chose to go the route they have gone is really not important, in the end consumers win and they aren't operating as a branch office for every three letter agency in the world.
  5. JRViejo

    JRViejo Super Moderator

    Jul 9, 2008
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