The U.S. Police Demanded Google to Hand Over User’s Smartphone Location Records

location records

In May last year, the police killed George Floyd, a black man. This triggered public demonstrations. But it turned into violent clashes and caused dozens of buildings in Minneapolis to be set on fire. The AutoZone store, a local auto parts dealer, was the first place to catch fire. The report pointed out that the Minneapolis police held a geolocation warrant issued by the court in August last year, requesting Google to provide GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or mobile network location records generated by smartphones on May 27.

Thus, users will also need to provide the Google account information of the target device in the relevant location upon request. According to the search order, the police asked Google to provide 4 locations with different coordinates between 5:20 and 5:40 in the afternoon of the day, including the anonymized information of the device in the AutoZone store.

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users smartphones location records
The report pointed out that Said Abdullahi, a local resident, recently received a letter from Google. It informed that his Google provided information from his account to the police under a search order. But he said that it had nothing to do with the violence, he just filmed AutoZone’s protests nearby that day.

However, the Minnesota police refused to explain the details of the reason for the search order. Moreover, it didn’t disclosed the number of search records, on the grounds of entering the case for investigation.

Police Needs More Rather Than Location Records

In fact, sensitive tracking technology to assist law enforcement has become very popular. The Taiwan government also uses an electronic fence system based on smartphone GPS positioning to track home quarantine people to ensure that they do not violate regulations.

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Among the various solutions, face recognition is the most controversial, and misjudgment may occur to catch the wrong person. For example, in July and December last year, there was a tragic case in Detroit and New Jersey. The local police used the face recognition technology but killed two black people by mistake.

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