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Suspected armed robber claims police illegally used Google location to arrest him


steven36
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An alleged robber accused of stealing $195,000 from a bank is fighting his criminal charge by claiming police illegally used Google location data to arrest him. 

 

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Okello Chatrie, 24, was charged with armed robbery of the US bank in Midlothian, Virginia, after police noticed on security footage the suspect had been holding a cellphone to his ear. 

 

 

According to NBC News, authorities applied for a so-called geofence warrant, which gave access to Google’s location data from all the cellphones that had been used in the area during the heist.

 

It narrowed their search down from an initial list of 19 accounts to Chatrie being the prime suspect. 

 

 

It is believed this may be the first US case in which a defendant is fighting the use of such a warrant to charge them with a crime. 

 

The warrant allows police to take advantage of information Google has on its customers and track nearly anyone using an Android device or Google app to a particular place over a particular time period. 

 

 

Chatrie's lawyers said in an October court filing: "It is the digital equivalent of searching every home in the neighbourhood of a reported burglary, or searching the bags of every person walking along Broadway because of a theft in Times Square.

 

"Without the name or number of a single suspect, and without ever demonstrating any likelihood that Google even has data connected to a crime, law enforcement invades the privacy of tens or hundreds or thousands of individuals, just because they were in the area."

 

 

But, prosecutors are arguing the search was legal because Chatrie had opted into Google’s location services, which allowed his Android phone and Google apps to track his movements. 

 

Chatrie has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

 

NBC reported police are increasingly turning to the use of geofence warrants, with documented cases in at least four US states and contractors now offering to help police looking to use the warrants.

 

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Edited by steven36
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