In 2020, federal police used a geofence warrant to obtain location data from Google as part of an investigation into a firefighting attempt against a police union headquarters in Seattle, according to Court documents have recently been released Someone sent something to the post office . The arson attempt took place on August 24, a day after the shooting In Kenosha, Wisconsin sparked protests against racial justice across the United States. In the midst of extensive law enforcement work in Seattle and parts of the country, two men hurled temporary firebombs at the back entrance to the Seattle Police Officers Guild headquarters.
Although the building was not significantly damaged in the attack, the incident prompted a strong response from police. At one point the FBI For any information regarding the attempted arson. Court documents show that the agency pressured Google to provide information on the two suspects. The FBI used a geofence warrant to obtain location data from Android devices that were close to what happened before and after the fire. Google complied with the request a day later.
A Google spokesman told the outlet: “Like all law enforcement requests, we have a strict process designed to protect the privacy of our users while supporting important law enforcement work. We have contacted the company for more information.
As Edge The FBI subsequently issued a public request for assistance in the case, stating that location data obtained from Google did not help locate the two suspects.
The use of police location data is nothing new, but the number of geofence warrants issued has increased significantly in recent years. In 2019, Google is fielding “180 requests per week”. More recently, the company revealed it received GeoFence requests in 2020, more than 941 in 2018. At the time, Google noted that 25 percent of all data requests received from law enforcement agencies were geofence warrants. What’s more, companies like Google often share the information of innocent pedestrians with the police while complying with those warrants, as was the case with a cyclist who 2022 theft in Florida And again a Protest After the death of George Floyd
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