US Government secretly orders Google to give users search history
Oct 24, 2021

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US Government secretly orders Google to give users search history

The United States government is secretly ordering Google to provide them with user data on anyone who types in specific search terms. This new report from Forbes comes from accidentally unsealed court documents. In other words, we were never supposed to know.

The U.S. uses "keyword warrants" to obtain your data. So if you type in a specific word or phrase into Google that the government has a warrant for, then your data will be sent to them from Google.

The accidentally unsealed court documents came from a 2019 case where investigators were looking for men they believed had trafficked and sexually abused a minor. The Feds ordered Google to provide account names, IP addresses, and cookies for anyone who searched the victim's name, her mother's name, or her address.

Before the above case, only two other 'keyword warrants' were made public. Forbes describes these warrants as "effectively fishing expeditions, hoping to ensnare possible suspects whose identities the government does not know."

The example of the human trafficking case is a sympathetic one. Everyone wants to see an animal like that caught. But there are wide, scary implications for the government having access to user data like this. How often are these warrants executed? Could they have executed one after January 6th for everyone who searched "Trump won"?

[Source: Forbes]

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