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Google is receiving police requests for data from all mobile users near crime locations

By William Gayde ยท 7 replies
Mar 19, 2018
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  1. Google is typically very transparent regarding what information it may give to law enforcement officers and in what circumstances but details are emerging about a new practice that many in the privacy community are finding troubling. On multiple occasions, Google has been presented with legal requests for information on all mobile users within a certain distance to a crime, not just an individual.

    When a law enforcement agency presents Google with a warrant or subpoena for information to help them solve a crime, they are typically only looking for information on a single suspect. In order to get this warrant, the police officers must convince a judge they have probable cause and that Google is likely to have the information they are looking for.

    What police in Raleigh, North Carolina, have started doing in certain circumstances is analyzing surveillance footage of a crime scene to create a perimeter and area of interest. They then present Google with a request for data from anyone within this area. Although they are only looking for anonymized account data for anyone using a Google app with location services, it's not clear if Google has complied to further requests for more information.

    Mobile phones use a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular networks to pinpoint a user's location. While it is possible to turn off GPS tracking, devices will almost always still transmit data to third parties using those other channels. This means that anyone who unknowingly wandered too close to a crime scene will be treated under the same suspicion as the actual criminal. Back in 2014, a woman was sentenced to prison for a crime she didn't commit after location records appeared to have put her at the scene of the crime.

    Google has declined to comment in detail on the issue, only reiterating its standard policies for complying with law enforcement requests. It's not clear how effective this tactic is, either, since a criminal could simply turn off their phone or leave it at home.

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2018
  2. regiq

    regiq TS Addict Posts: 237   +113

    What is that, Thought Police?!
  3. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 566   +374

    This is the exact reason Android and iOS became so prevalent. Garbage "sloperating systems" tied to surveillance equipment, all formed and funded by our pals in intelligence.

    Not that WinPhones were any better, but they were better.
  4. Skjorn

    Skjorn TS Maniac Posts: 330   +179

    I actually miss the WindowsPhones. I wanted one but I wasn't going to hop on the first models. I wanted the kinks worked out but they just canned it.
  5. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 566   +374

    Aye, my 928 died the VERY DAY Microsoft posted their dismissal of it, last summer. It died that night.

    A friend gave me a 926 (same innard, but for Tmobile instead of Verizon, slightly different shell) for Christmas though and sad to say, it's just not as useful as Android for daily use. No app support means you're kinda just stuck in the past. But, and this is a big but - I STILL whip it out for the excellent camera often! It's so much nicer than my stupid Moto E, which is slower than molasses at every single thing. But the WinPhone is still terrible for web and social use, even the keyboard feels outdated compared to SwiftKey. It sucks. I miss it.
  6. dualkelly

    dualkelly TS Booster Posts: 70   +52

    I think you may want to check your information. Windows has backdoor built into it specifically for the FBI and law enforcement agencies including their window phone operating systems. Microsoft cooperates with all law enforcement agencies to build in back doors. Microsoft fanboys often overlook this little nugget. The reason law enforcement has to ask google for information is because the cell phones are so well encrypted they just cant pull any data off it without a little bit of help. FBI has been lambasting google and Apple for cell phone encryption that is to hard to break into. This information in the article can also be found from your cellphone services provider by cell tower information.
  7. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 566   +374

    Oh, I haven't overlooked these things. I'll one-up you: all these huge tech companies are founded and funded directly by Langley. Gates, Zucky, Jobs, Musk - they're all assets and agents for TPTB. They're fake people. They don't have nearly that much wealth, it's just reported so. Frontmen. Con-men. The companies don't promote tech progress, they promote surveillance chiefly and all other benefits are secondary or tertiary. How do you get a tracking device planted on every single person? Get them to buy it and put it in their pockets.

    Windows itself is wide open to these things as well, I don't care how "secure" they pretend it is. The only reason I enjoyed the WinPhone so much more was due to the phone itself and the camera. It was physically nicer than my (crappy) Android. The camera app, Nokia's one, was better than the apps I've used on my Android. And the menu system itself was better too - until similar tile-based ones emerged on Android, which are almost as good. No Live Tiles but whatever. Icons should have died with WinPhone's emergence, yet here we are. The good stuff, tossed to the wayside.
  8. dogofwars

    dogofwars TS Addict Posts: 175   +71

    When you think that peoples where scared when it was about implementing themselves with a chip but they do on their own volition with a cellphone but with a lot more function than a chip under their skins could ever provide. It is ironic but even more frightening, that is why it is important to fight for your privacy.

    You think you have nothing to hide but it is not what you have to hide but what you can show that can put you in trouble just because you were somewhere near. You could be driving by and just because you were in the vicinity if a murder happened close by you are guilty by association etc.. It just take a few seconds and you were where the murder happened therefore it is you!?

    Peoples don't think about it because they have not thought of all the possibilities and don't understand why they get caught in the process. I think those corporations and polices don't really understand the full ramification that they are dealing with those "next generation" technologies and even less the population.

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