To Find Suspects, Police Quietly Turn to Google

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by Megalith, Mar 17, 2018.

  1. Megalith

    Megalith 24-bit/48kHz Staff Member

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    WRAL is reporting on a number of unique warrants out of Raleigh, North Carolina, in which police requested (and were subsequently granted) data from all mobile devices in the surrounding area of a crime scene. Traditionally, police must find a suspect first before searching their data, but now, the opposite is occuring.

    "We are willingly sharing an awful lot of our lives with Google," said Jonathan Jones, a former Durham prosecutor who directs the North Carolina Open Government Coalition at Elon University. "But do people understand that in sharing that information with Google, they're also potentially sharing it with law enforcement?"
     
  2. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard|News

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    Sounds like a great practice to me except people steal cellphones all the time and there is a such thing as burner phones.
     
  3. EODetroit

    EODetroit [H]ard|Gawd

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    Most people don't premeditate their bullshit to that extent. Even when they know they might want to commit a major crime.
     
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  4. kirbyrj

    kirbyrj Why oh why didn't I take the BLUE pill?

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    This is really no different than your car being caught by surveillance cameras and the police viewing the tapes. It doesn't eliminate investigation. It just narrows it down.
     
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  5. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot [H]ard|Gawd

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    Except that driving a car on a public street and being seen is far different then Google telling law enforcement that your phone was next door in your neighbor's bedroom next to your neighbor's wife's phone for 30 minutes.
     
  6. kirbyrj

    kirbyrj Why oh why didn't I take the BLUE pill?

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    Except in your hypothetical example it's not illegal so the police wouldn't care.
     
  7. ProfessorUtopia

    ProfessorUtopia [H]Lite

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    Anyone who believes Google mas a modicum of respect for user privacy, hasn't been paying attention.
     
  8. mr.erik

    mr.erik [H]Lite

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    Google isn't the only one infringing on your privacy. If you're worried about privacy I would recommend never setting up a bank account, having credit cards, using any cell phone, using any electric device connected to the internet, having a social security number, getting a passport or going anywhere that has cameras or microphones, never have your photo taken, never have fingerprints taken at birth, and don't go to the doctors or dentists, don't drive a registered vechile, only by guns on the black market. I'm sure I've missed quite a bit but I'm sure you get the picture.
     
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  9. ProfessorUtopia

    ProfessorUtopia [H]Lite

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    There's a difference between being conscientious and paranoid. Google may very well be the single worst offender when it comes to user privacy. My bank, VPN provider, and dentist don't volunteer my information to whatever chicken shit law enforcement agency comes along asking, without a warrant.
     
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  10. cageymaru

    cageymaru [H]ard|News

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    Around here the crackheads, pimps, and drug dealers use burner phones. I live in North Carolina though. Maybe that's why. Regular people committing crimes don't though. Most people don't think of such things.
     
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  11. Chupachup

    Chupachup Limp Gawd

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    The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides that "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    The police going through data or usage of everyone's phone in a generalized area for the purpose of finding a criminal, simply due to the proximity of devices being near where they believe said criminal exists, requires them to obtain a warrant specific to the search of each individuals phone, home or property, by directly associating them to that criminal's illegal activities or familial relation. Failing that, they find themselves operating in violation of the Four Amendment- especially if through their search they find potential illegal activity of devices not associated to the criminal in the original complaint.

    Your honor? We require more warrants to properly further searches of devices owned by unnamed individuals who may be involved in illegal activities. How was this originally determined? We cast a net with the aid of Google to locate one criminal and some of the data and usage information that was mined during that period indicated possible illicit activity by others. No. This activity was not found on that criminals device(s) and not directly related to the criminal in the originating case. Yes sir! We understand why we don't get the warrants and must now ignore these individuals as we destroy the data and usage collected that was not directly relevant to the criminal in the first complaint.....
     
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  12. Dead Parrot

    Dead Parrot [H]ard|Gawd

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    Unless the wife in question is married to the Police Chief.

    And if the fact comes out in a criminal trial for whatever reason, it might be usable in an unrelated civil action.
     
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  13. JerRatt

    JerRatt Limp Gawd

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    Yeah, until they come across other information on someone completely unrelated to the crime that they could view as a concern to investigate, without basis or out of negligence, and escalate to civil forfeiture to ruin lives, only to eventually never charge someone with a crime yet continue to threaten them with potential charges so that they either have to spend a million dollars fighting it in court for a decade OR except a plea bargain so that they have no recourse...

    Yeah, no different, no potential for abuse there, no unintended consequences. Why not just open it up to everywhere, since crime evidence could just be in more than the immediate area, why not everyones information everywhere at all time completely open to be viewed and monitored? Right?
     
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  14. JerRatt

    JerRatt Limp Gawd

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    Yeah, police have never made a mistake, had bias, had agendas or vendettas, or any other millions of things that EVERY human on earth is susceptible to. They are essentially infallible humans, so we should allow total access at all times, right?
     
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  15. kirbyrj

    kirbyrj Why oh why didn't I take the BLUE pill?

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    Police don't have open- ended Mueller probes (Which is one reason why the Mueller probe is a joke). They investigate certain specific crimes. You're going from a smaller, specific range of targets to some mass surveillance and nonsensical reference to asset forfeiture (Which has nothing to do with this case) to argue against a point no one is trying to make. You don't like cops...ok, but they are a necessary evil.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
  16. kirbyrj

    kirbyrj Why oh why didn't I take the BLUE pill?

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    Thank you for the legal lesson however you're missing an important point. The search warrant isn't being served on individuals but on a company for data. Data that you willingly give up to Google. Data that you broadcast from your cell phone outside of your personal space and some would argue outside of the boundaries of your 4th amendment rights. You want your proverbial cake and want to eat it too. You like the convenience of using your smartphone for location based results but don't like data about your usage being shared.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2018
  17. kirbyrj

    kirbyrj Why oh why didn't I take the BLUE pill?

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  18. YeuEmMaiMai

    YeuEmMaiMai [H]ardForum Junkie

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    not shocking in the least bit... people are willing to let this happen...
     
  19. Exavior

    Exavior [H]ardForum Junkie

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    There are a few holes though with your post here. First off they are getting warrants, and they are doing nothing more than getting a list of all phones that passed through a given area between certain times. So there is a slight difference. Which while it is a slippery slope, it is one that the bill of rights couldn't have prepared for.

    Like the person you are replying to said, this is no different than a security camera in a way yet. In this case they have the guy on camera over the course of multiple days, so they ask for all phone users that were in the block in question for the time periods in question. They are not singling out a single person and going after them, nor where they acquiring anything excessive. They are simply getting a list of all people within the area of the crime within a certain time frame. Probable cause could be considered being within 500 feet of a crime or some other distance in the eyes of the court. Does being near a crime mean that you were involved with the crime? No, but you might be. If at a party and a female gets raped / sexually assaulted in a back room. Do you just say well we don't know which of these guys did it so we can't question any of them and have to not investigate anything?

    Maybe the laws need to be adjusted to prevent searches like that, but as of now that kind of falls though a little into what the courts consider to be acceptable searching.
     
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  20. Loose Nut

    Loose Nut Limp Gawd

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    Like it or not this is the future.

    With camera in schools, kids phones recording there lives and uploading themselves to facebook
    old people will die off and the young are already used to 24-7 monitoring.

    it will be the normal and openly accepted

    its like tring to stop the sun from rising :(
     
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  21. Olle P

    Olle P Limp Gawd

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    I don't see a problem here. Persons present at a crime scene can be assumed to be either a witness or a purpetraitor until interviewed.
    If you don't want to be questioned by the Police, don't be at a crime scene! (As if you could make that choice...)
     
  22. jpm100

    jpm100 [H]ardness Supreme

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    There's a reason we don't allow arbitrary data collection. There's a reason we require the state to build a criminal case from the criminal activity itself outward.

    The reason is that its real easy to find a patsy if you come up with a long list of name you know don't have a good alibi.

    This is aside from the blackmail opportunities if the data is used unscrupulously.
     
  23. Chupachup

    Chupachup Limp Gawd

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    It seems the government wishes to have its proverbial cake and eat it too, as they argue over how companies like FB, Google, Apple, etc., use and handle each individual users personal data. If protections are to be applied they should also naturally extend equally to law enforcement and treated no differently than files in a cabinet, i.e., they must show sufficient need for mass collection of many peoples data when and where they are attempting to entrap a single person. I know that's a future discussion and not present tense. Still...

    For the record- I have location services on my devices and web apps disabled as a rule. No one needs to know where I am or what I'm doing unless they wish to call/text and ask me directly;)

    It's a discussion I'm glad we can have! Many responsible for setting the laws governing this issue simply do not have the knowledge or desire to learn what they must to fully understand what they're attempting to moderate. That leaves it to us as a community to put the screws to them to step forward in a proper manner.:)