Police get search warrant for everyone who Googled Edina resident's name
Police want broad identifying information to help catch a thief who swindled $28,500.
“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.
A spokesperson for Google, which received the warrant, said Friday: “We will continue to object to this overreaching request for user data, and if needed, will fight it in court. We always push back when we receive excessively broad requests for data about our users.”
Information on the warrant first emerged through a blog post by public records researcher Tony Webster. Technology website Ars Technica called the Edina warrant “perhaps the most expansive one we’ve seen unconnected to the U.S. national security apparatus.”
Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
- Robert J. Hanlon.