March 22, 2017
If you thought that your search engine history was private, think again. It’s not. Or, at least, it may not be, depending on whether or not you’re under police investigation.
According to The Free Thought Project, a court in Minnesota has recently ruled that an entire city’s search history should be made available to police, an Orwellian first as far as anyone can tell. It may well mark the beginning of the end of Internet freedom.
Cops in Edina, Minn., were granted a warrant that requires search giant Google to provide search history information and the names of everyone in the city who utilized specific search terms between Dec. 1, 2016, and Jan. 7, 2017. (RELATED: BOMBSHELL Investigation: Google An “Information Dominance” Front For The CIA)
Now mind you, this case isn’t about a nuclear bomb plot, a planned act of terrorism, a major jewel heist or child porn. Rather, ARS Technica notes, the case is about alleged wire fraud worth less than $30,000. But if Google honors the warrant, like it probably will have to do since the warrant is a legal document issued by a valid court, that would be a horrible precedent moving forward because it could be duplicated by departments all over the country.
ARS Technica reports that police investigators are looking for an online picture of a person with the same name as a local victim of financial fraud because said image was found on a phony passport that was utilized to fool a credit union into transferring some $28,500 out of a man’s account who takes up residence in Edina. Someone faxed the fake passport to the credit union as ‘proof’ of identity under a spoofed phone number to mimic the victim’s phone, the search warrant notes.
The Free Thought Project reported further:
The ominously worded warrant makes some chilling demands — all over a small fraud case.
A Google search, the warrant application says, as reported by Ars Technica, reveals the photo used on the bogus passport. The image was not rendered on Yahoo or Bing, according to the documents. The warrant commands Google to divulge “any/all user or subscriber information”—including e-mail addresses, payment information, MAC addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth, and IP addresses—of anybody who conducted a search for the victim’s name.
What makes this warrant so worrisome, especially if Google complies with it, is that it seems to go far beyond the legal standard of probable cause. While it appears likely that something illegal may have happened, it’s obvious that most, if not all, of the people in Edina are not guilty of doing anything wrong. Granted, cops have to investigate but how can a court reasonably assume that everyone in an entire city is under suspicion, thereby satisfying the legal standard of probable cause?
That seems a stretch, to say the least.
What also seems very likely, then, is that police will obtain evidence that may implicate other criminal activity, and while you may applaud that, understand that such overly broad searches were never envisioned by our founding fathers, hence the adoption of the Fourth Amendment, which is supposed to protect against “unreasonable searches.” (RELATED: BREAKING: Police Are Now Routinely Taking Items Out Of Unlocked Cars To ‘Protect’ Citizens From Theft)
“The Fourth Amendment originally enforced the notion that ‘each man’s home is his castle,’ secure from unreasonable searches and seizures of property by the government,” Cornell University Law School notes in describing the purpose of the amendment. “It protects against arbitrary arrests, and is the basis of the law regarding search warrants, stop-and-frisk, safety inspections, wiretaps, and other forms of surveillance, as well as being central to many other criminal law topics and to privacy law.”
So it seems apparent a city-wide “search” of Google records is far and away outside the scope of what is allowable under the Constitution. It’s hard to tell what is worse – that a police department would make such a request or that a court would grant it.
J.D. Heyes is a senior writer for NaturalNews.com and NewsTarget.com, as well as editor of The National Sentinel.