Real OC (& SoCAL) Politics

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Google Reveals Exponential Growth of New Surveillance Method

A recent transparency report from Google shows that U.S. law enforcers are increasingly relying on geofence warrants, a new surveillance tactic that civil libertarians say violates the Fourth Amendment. Unlike typical warrants that authorize the surveillance of specific targets, geofence warrants allow police to collect vast troves of geolocation data from devices within a given area in a certain timeframe. Law enforcers reportedly used geofence warrants to investigate crimes committed during last summer’s Black Lives Matter riots, as well as the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riot—fueling concerns that data from journalists and other innocent bystanders were also swept up in the process. Law enforcement’s use of geofence warrants has been public knowledge for years, but Google’s Aug. 19 report is the first time a major company has disclosed statistics on the surveillance method. According to Google’s report, the company received more than 11,500 geofence warrants from federal, state, and local agencies last year …

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