Have Your Phone — It Might Get You Questioned About A Crime!
You come home from a long day at work and sit down at your computer to check your email to find an email from Google’s legal investigations support team informing you that local police were demanding information regarding your Google account. That would be enough to give most of us heart palpitations. However, it is happening more and more thanks to a new tactic that many police departments have glommed on to known as geofence warrants. Police departments love these because they can cast a wide net over a general crime area and grabbing all location data from anyone in the general area without their knowledge. The information includes GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Cellular Data. Many apps send data to a cloud or Google directly. What happens is that police departments request a warrant from a judge for data records from all devices in the area where a crime occurred. Initially, the data is anonymous. Once received from Google, police look for suspicious devices and then requests additional identifying information on the device. Warrants of this type are secret, which is why there have been very few court challenges. To protect yourself, delete all apps that you do not use and turn off location services except when you are actively using the app. Google’s platform and for that matter, their entire business revolves around collecting as much data as they can and selling it to whomever they can. That is where using a platform such as iOS, where the provider always challenges law enforcement requests and warrants, helps to protect you.