Thanks to its never-ending collection of location data, Google has become a prime target for law enforcement investigators. Using so-called “reverse warrants,” investigators ask Google to turn over information for all devices in a geofenced area, with the hope of working their way backward from these data points to actual criminal suspects.
They’re called “warrants” but they can’t possibly be supported by probable cause. Treating everyone in the area of a suspected crime as a criminal suspect until things can be sorted out inverts this concept. And the government isn’t always honest with courts about how many innocent people these “reverse warrants” can ensnare. Fortunately, we’ve seen some courts engage in more active reviews of these requests, which has led to a few notable rejections.
Link: Google Report Shows ‘Reverse Warrants’ Are Swiftly Becoming Law Enforcement’s Go-To Investigative Tool