Warrant demands information on “anyone” who searched a crime victim

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Google has been swamped by controversy lately. Recently, the online search platform received court search warrants for the name of anyone who searched for information of any kind pertaining to a particular crime victim, according to Search Engine Land.

This warrant pertains to an unnamed victim of financial fraud. Google stated that this warrant become the incentive to other police jurisdictions to use the online search titan as an investigative tool in crime investigations.

The Fourth Amendment governs the law on search warrants, and it states that the court must be shown clear and probable case as to the reason for the warrant request. Google feels there is no probable cause to divulge the private activities on “everyone” that may have made a harmless inquiry based on a news article.

Google and others have concerns about being given warrants with wording that have such broad implications. The word “anyone” raises privacy issues in the minds of some people. Google is hoping to have the warrant narrowed down, for instances listing a group of suspects. If allowed to stand as is, this warrant could pull the cork off a dark bottle that let a very bad genie escape. Such demands for online queries could lead to abuses of privacy and police power that some people find very uncomfortable.

Google is concerned about privacy issues on a very broad scale. If the Minnesota warrant is upheld, then the same tactic could be use in other jurisdictions around the country.

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