FEDS USED A 'REVERSE' WARRANT TO TRY TO TRACK DOWN BANK ROBBERS IN WISCONSIN | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

FEDS USED A 'REVERSE' WARRANT TO TRY TO TRACK DOWN BANK ROBBERS IN WISCONSIN

SOURCE: TECH DIRT
Reverse warrants are the new tech-related toy law enforcement is experimenting with. Oddly, a lot of what's come to light so far originates in the Midwest, an area not exactly known for early adoption. Outside of the NYPD and feds confirming they use warrants to seek a list of possible suspects (rather than targeting any specific suspect), most reporting has covered deployments by law enforcement agencies in Minnesota.

We can add Wisconsin to the list of areas where cops are working backwards to suspects by using the copious amount of GPS data hoovered up by Google and others. Russell Brandom of The Verge has more details:

[P]olice and federal agents have struggled to track down the bank robbers. Local media sent out pictures from the bank’s security cameras, but it produced no leads. Finally, police hit on a more aggressive strategy: ask Google to track down the bank robbers’ phones.

In November, agents served Google with a search warrant, asking for data that would identify any Google user who had been within 100 feet of the bank during a half-hour block of time around the robbery. They were looking for the two men who had gone into the bank, as well as the driver who dropped off and picked up the crew, and would potentially be caught up in the same dragnet. It was an aggressive technique, scooping up every Android phone in the area and trusting police to find the right suspects in the mess of resulting data. But the court found it entirely legal, and it was returned as executed shortly after.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

You will forgive me, if I have some legitimate concerns about how this technology may be used in the future,perhaps becoming a part of the Federal Apparatus, with which to violently "cull" those who entertain the quaint notion that "Freedom of Speech" is still actually guaranteed to American citizens.

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