A geofence warrant is a special type of information request where law enforcement asks Google to provide them with the identities of everyone who was at a certain location at a specific date and time.
“As with all search warrants and data requests, we work to protect the privacy of our users while supporting the necessary work of law enforcement. We carefully review each request to make sure it satisfies applicable laws, and notify users when their identifying information is disclosed in response to a geofence warrant, unless expressly prohibited by law or a court order,” Google said of the warrants in its report.
Google says the warrants constitute approximately 25% of the warrant requests in the United States that it receives each year.
Experts say the numbers are staggering.
“This is the first time we get a better understanding of how increasingly widespread such reverse location warrants are,” David Schwarz, head of Privacy and Technology at the New York state affiliate of the ACLU, tweeted.
“In total, Google received 20,932 requests from 2018-2020. It is unclear how many individual accounts were implicated in each of these requests – and most will never know about it. 487 geofence warrants were submitted from New York alone. The yearly increase is staggering,” he added.
Some point out that Google’s ability to provide such personal information on a large scale is the privacy concern of this generation.
“Another reminder that vaccines don’t have tracking chips in them. That would be woefully redundant and far less efficient than existing surveillance capital infrastructure,” one user tweeted.
The news comes after allegations that Google altered its news algorithm to target former President Donald Trump.
“They allowed the mainstream media to structure their stories so that they could remain in the top of their search index,” Google whistleblower Zach Vorhies said in an interview with The Epoch Times.
“[I]t was clear that Google was attempting nothing less than a seamless rewriting of the operating code of reality in which many would not be allowed to participate,” the description of his new book detailing Google’s questionable practices reads.
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