While law enforcement officials are excited about the hope of using location data to locate suspects in a criminal investigation, the cops note that they do not charge a person just because the show they are in the Google database. Speaking where, Sensorvault is reported to contain location data covering hundreds of millions of devices dating back to 1
Law enforcement officials who spoke at Times only said that Google may respond to requests for such information. They recall that Apple said it was unable to provide such location data. But an intelligence analyst at the sheriff's office in San Mateo County, California said that based on his experience, Google has location data available for most Android phones and some iPhones.
Information provided by Google not only helps police find suspects, it can lead them to witnesses who may have seen or heard something important during the execution of a crime. Despite the apparent usefulness of the Sensorvault database, some Google employees point out that the database was not created to deliver law enforcement needs and could generate inaccurate information.
With the increasing number of requests for information, the Google unit that provides law enforcement data is sinking. As a result, it may take up to six months for the police to get the information they want. A Google employee said it received 180 requests a week for data from its Sensorvault database.
Google location data "has not popped the answer like a ticker tape"
Also note law experts that innocent people is caught up in the location data provided by Google to the police. While information from Google is being sealed in some states, the data can be obtained through press and an innocent person may end up being named in the media as linked to a crime. And police have one way to get around the fourth amendment demand that a search warrant covers a limited area, and contains what may happen. To prove this is possible, most warrants say that most Americans have their own mobile phones and Google has location data on many of these phones. That is enough for a judge to issue a warrant in most cases.
Unknown how many warrants led to a arrest or a belief. A high-ranking prosecutor working for the state of Washington, Gary Ernsdorff, talked to some of these warrants and mentioned that data from Google "does not release an answer like a ticker tape, allegedly guilty of this year. " Suspects should still be investigated and Ernsdorff added, "We will not charge anyone just because Google said they were there."