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Search warrant on Edina Google searches could have big implications

18 March, 2017, 21:04 | Author: Nadine Todd
  • Image A copy of the search warrant. | The Reg

So the police want Google to give them a list of any information the company has on people who searched for the victim's name between 1 December and 7 January. Of course, the bank needed to verify the man's identity so he faxed in a copy of his passport which turns out, was fake.

The warrant documents were first discovered by Tony Webster, a Minneapolis-based journalist and transparency advocate, who posted the papers online after photographing them from a courthouse computer terminal. Specifically, they wanted names, email addresses, social security numbers, payment information, account data and IP addresses, which could be enough to identify where those searches were made.

Police searching for a suspect in a Minnesota wire fraud case have obtained a warrant for the records of anyone who searched Google for the victim's name, a broad-reaching request that Google said it plans to fight.

"The Fourth Amendment was adopted in large part in reaction to "general warrants" or "writs of assistance" which allowed British agents to go house to house in search of contraband", Andrew Crocker, a digital rights attorney with Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Vocativ. Ruling out the possibility of Bing and Yahoo, the police believes that the photo on the fake passport was obtained using Google Search.

Edina investigators learned that the suspect or suspects provided the credit union with the account holder's name, date of birth and Social Security number.

Larson signed off on the search warrant on February 1. If you bought a pressure cooker on Amazon a month before the Boston bombing, do police get to know about it? "But in these situations, police already have a suspect, forensically recovering internet history files from their devices to figure out what they searched", notes Webster in his blog, arguing that allowing a dragnet search of Google users by the police is to grant them a new and risky power, particularly given the relatively minor nature of the crime. Rob Kahn, a privacy law professor at the University of St. Thomas, remarked, "I'm concerned both about ensnaring innocent people but also ... that this become a pattern". Officers had initially requested the information directly from Google with an administrative subpoena, but the company declined.

"There's really very little to connect the fact that there's a photo attainable on Google with the identity theft", she said.

"If this warrant is constitutional, then the California highway patrol could ask Google for information on people who were speeding while using Google Maps", Cardozo said. On Friday, Google said: "We aren't able to comment on specific cases, but we will always push back when we receive excessively broad requests for data about our users".


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