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Googletapped -- Police get blanket search warrant for everyone who Googled Edina resident's name

Star Tribune:

Internet giant Google is vowing to fight a search warrant demanding that Edina police be able to collect information on any resident who used certain search terms as authorities try to locate a thief who swindled a resident out of $28,500.

Privacy law experts say that the warrant is based on an unusually broad definition of probable cause that could set a troubling precedent.

 

“This kind of warrant is cause for concern because it’s closer to these dragnet searches that the Fourth Amendment is designed to prevent,” said William McGeveran, a law professor at the University of Minnesota.

Issued by Hennepin County District Judge Gary Larson in early February, the warrant pertains to anyone who searched variations of the resident’s name on Google from Dec. 1 through Jan. 7.

In addition to basic contact information for people targeted by the warrant, Google is being asked to provide Edina police with their Social Security numbers, account and payment information, and IP (internet protocol) and MAC (media access control) addresses. ...

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" No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass. "
--George Washington, letter to Benjamin Lincoln, 1788

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