U.S. Government Secretly Obtained Information of Users’ Search History From Google

Multiple reports have surfaced which revealed the federal government issued thousands of keyword search warrants on American citizens who may or may not have committed crimes. Since 2019, the FBI and Pentagon have issued keyword search warrants on people they suspected committed a crime.

So what is a keyword search warrant? Well, basically the FBI will ask Google after a crime has been committed if there were any Google searches that involved that person’s name in any part of the year.

For example, in 2019, federal investigators in Wisconsin were seeking to arrest men who were involved in abducting and sexually abusing a minor. Their investigation had no initial leads; so, they issued a keyword search warrant and forced Google to hand over all the people who searched for the missing girl or her mother’s address on Google.

This isn’t the only time a warrant has been issued on keyword searches; it happens constantly and the most recent time it occurred was after the January 6th riots at the Capitol.

Feds Use Geofencing Search Warrants to Find People

In January 2020, a young man by the name of Zachary McCoy received an email from Google that he had seven days to block a release of his Google search history to investigators.

According to The Guardian, McCoy was shocked, considering he didn’t commit any crimes, nor did he search anything obscene either. McCoy later found out the FBI obtained a geofence warrant from Google which gave the authorities his location.

The reason McCoy was targeted for the geofence warrant is he was riding his bike in the same neighborhood where a house recently got robbed. So, in order to find the culprit, the feds turned to Google to find out who all went near the house.

If the feds are using Google search warrants because of robberies, just imagine how many more Google search warrants they are issuing on a daily basis without our knowledge.

After the January 6th riots, FBI agents issued several Google search warrants and Geofence warrants to track down everyone who was inside the Capitol on January 6th.

It’s Not Just Google Giving the Feds Information

Google isn’t the only big tech company handing over information freely; both Twitter and Facebook have also handed over information regarding locations and message history.

After the Januarys 6th riot, the FBI asked Bank of America to give them information on all of their customers who were in DC, made purchases at hotels or gas stations, and who were not from D.C.

Several people who didn’t participate in the Capitol riot were even interrogated after the banking information made them suspect to the FBI.

There’s no telling where all of this could lead in the future.