Google Now Sales Users Data To Law Enforcement Operatives

Pappi Hex

Internet search giant Google will now exchange users information for some amount of money to law enforcement and other government agencies.

The Alphabet owned company decided it will charge law enforcement for the request of its users information such as emails, location tracking, and queries since it was getting a large number of requests.

According to The New York Times, Google's fees range from $45 for a subpoena, $60 for a wiretap, and $245 for a search warrant. A fee will be charged for other legal requests as well.
A Google spokesperson said that the fees will be used to manage the costs related to manpower and resource required for providing the subpoenas and warrants.

"None of the services were designed with exfiltrating data for law enforcement in mind,"Al Gidari, a former Google lawyer who represented the company for years said, explaining that the new fees could help recover some of the costs required to fill such large volume of legal requests.

For a long time, Google and other Silicon valley companies do not charge for fulfilling law enforcement requests even though federal law permits companies to implement a government reimbursement fee.

Now some law enforcement agencies fear this new practice by Google will lead to other companies doing the same. Which, in turn, could lead to small-town police departments having to cut down their data requests and rather push for only cases with importance.

However, Gidari says it will be good if the fees results in fewer legal requests to the company. "The actual costs of doing wiretaps and responding to search warrants is high and when you pass those costs onto the government, it deters from excessive surveillance," Gidari said.

Still, other law enforcement officials thinks the effects of the fees won't be that much, since most times the need for users information is for major crimes.

"I don't see it impacting us too much," said mark Bruley, deputy police chief in Minnesota. "We are only using these warrants on major crimes, and their fees seem reasonable."

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