Tracking Phones, Google Is a Dragnet for the Police

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

  1. hawki

    hawki Registered Member

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    "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

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/13/us/google-location-tracking-police.html
     
  2. Stefan Froberg

    Stefan Froberg Registered Member

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    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

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    Google faces surge in police requests for mobile location data
    It raises questions about the necessity of the information
    April 14, 2019

    https://www.engadget.com/2019/04/14/surge-in-police-requests-for-mobile-location-data/
     
  4. LockBox

    LockBox Registered Member

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    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

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  6. ronjor

    ronjor Global Moderator

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    U.S. congressional leaders query Google on tracking database
     
  7. mood

    mood Updates Team

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    Suspected armed robber claims police illegally used Google location to arrest him
    November 21, 2019
    https://www.standard.co.uk/news/wor...d-google-location-to-arrest-him-a4292526.html
     
  8. mood

    mood Updates Team

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    Google Hands Feds 1,500 Phone Locations In Unprecedented ‘Geofence’ Search
    December 11, 2019
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/thomas...smartphones-in-unprecedented-geofence-search/
     
  9. Soft Life

    Soft Life Registered Member

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    Of course they are going to use phones to locate or see where you were. This is a test and precursor to the chip in your hand and tracking you all day long.
     
  10. hawki

    hawki Registered Member

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    "Google tracked his bike ride past a burglarized home. That made him a suspect.

    'I was using an app to see how many miles I rode my bike and now it was putting me at the scene of the crime,' the man said...

    The email arrived on a Tuesday afternoon in January...It was from Google’s legal investigations support team, writing to let him know that local police had demanded information related to his Google account. The company said it would release the data unless he went to court and tried to block it. He had just seven days...

    In the notice from Google was a case number. McCoy searched for it on the Gainesville Police Department’s website, and found a one-page investigation report on the burglary of an elderly woman’s home 10 months earlier...the notice had been prompted by a “geofence warrant,” a police surveillance tool that casts a virtual dragnet over crime scenes, sweeping up Google location data..."

    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-new...-ride-past-burglarized-home-made-him-n1151761
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2020
  11. ronjor

    ronjor Global Moderator

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  12. mood

    mood Updates Team

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    Let the public see how Google tracks users in Arizona, judge is urged
    July 25, 2020
    https://tucson.com/news/local/let-t...cle_606e5fa5-406e-5a24-a27c-d3cb60ca3a26.html
     
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