Police Want Google To ID Everyone Who Searched For Victim's Name

Geronimo Vena
Marzo 18, 2017

The criminal pulled off the scheme by posing as the victim and faxing over a forged US passport to the bank.

The resulting search warrant seeks to require Google to provide authorities not only with the names and IP addresses of those users who searched for the resident, but also information that Google probably doesn't have, like Social Security numbers, payment information.

A search warrant has been granted by a United States judge which allows the police to direct Google Inc.to provide the names of anyone who searched for the suggest four variants of the victim's name on Google between December 1, 2016, and January 7, 2017.

In early January, two account holders with SPIRE Credit Union reported to police that $28,500 had been stolen from a line of credit associated with one of their accounts, according to court documents.

A Minnesota judge signed a search warrant for personal information on anyone who googled a person's name in the city of Edina. However, in this case, the warrant issued to Edina police is far too broad and unconstitutional, Cardozo contended. Edina police deduced that because the image found on the passport was not indexed by other major search engines like Bing or Yahoo, that the culprit must have been using Google to conduct their research. The victim's first name is Douglas with the last name redacted in the scanned warrant available on Tony Webster's blog and Webster poses an interesting question in his post. Don't worry though, there are very specific search terms that the police would like to investigate. The warrant was granted by Hennepin County Judge Gary Larson.

The warrant demands that Google surrender the information of every person who searched for the name of the fraud victim. "If the standards for getting a broad warrant like this are not strong, you can have a lot of police fishing expeditions".

The warrant demands Google to help police determine who searched for variations of the victim's name between December 1 of a year ago through January 7, 2017. Officers had initially requested the information directly from Google with an administrative subpoena, but the company declined. Are both those people fair game? But according to the warrant, investigators believe the Google data will help them identify the criminal suspect. "It's certainly a scary slippery slope that they're setting up here".

"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.

"We could have people who are not searching for this individual who are going to be swept up in this", Theresa Nelson, of the ACLU of Minnesota tells the Star Tribune.

Arc Technica said Google is suggesting it will fight the warrant.

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