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The questionable legality of geofence warrants

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

A geofence warrant is a request from law enforcement to search a database for all devices used in the vicinity where a crime was committed. This differs from a keyword warrant in that it narrows down the suspect list by geography rather than search history. Through the use of geofence warrants, police can fairly easily infringe upon the rights of Florida citizens.

One company holds all the data

With one search engine that reigns supreme, it has become all too easy for law enforcement to obtain untold information on just about anyone. In addition to its highly pervasive search engine, Google also hosts a variety of other products and services.

While this has led to a more connected world, it has also led to the public being subjected to potential privacy invasions. Through the data Googe collects from its users, the company owns a considerable amount of information and law enforcement often wants to get its hands on it.

An irregular type of warrant

One of the biggest problems with geofence warrants in the eyes of many is that they aren’t specific enough. Warrants are meant to be requests for particular information that is expected to turn up evidence pertaining to the case.

On the other hand, geofence warrants operate more like a blanket request for information. Some argue that this violates the rights of everyday citizens who have no reason to be considered a suspect. In some cases, all it takes is being at the wrong place at the wrong time to have to worry about criminal defense.

Proponents of using these warrants say that it helps to create a suspect list when there are no leads to go off of. They argue that geofence warrants can potentially help to catch dangerous criminals and protect the public.