Google’s location history data shared routinely with police
An investigation by The New York Times reveals that Google regularly shares location data of users with US law enforcement, and that requests for this data have surged in the last six months.
Google stores the location information of users that have the Location History feature enabled in a system called Sensorvault. If police officers want to use location data as part of an investigation, they request ‘geofence’ warrants for anonymous Sensorvault data for all users who were active in a certain area within a specific period. If the movements of one or multiple users in the data set match potential suspects, law enforcement officials will request specific information on those users, including usernames.
By casting a wide net, the described approach circumvents a 2018 Supreme Court ruling forcing law enforcement officials to request an official warrant if they want access to the location data of specific individuals.