Google Will Not Provide Law Enforcement Agencies Location History Data After Major Change On Maps

Google is making some serious changes to its settings for Maps and that means it would cut off any request generated in its direction by law enforcement agencies. This is for those who want specific user location histories.

The company’s parent firm Alphabet mentioned how it would be switching things up for the Maps tool so that even it would not be able to access the user’s location, let alone provide it to others.

A major step is being taken to ensure all users remain secure and are no longer tracked for whatever purpose involved. This would similarly limit the responses it provides to other parties seeking this kind of data, especially when it has to do with investigations about a particular crime.

Before, the police would just demand through a filing request about any user’s information. Now, that’s not the case as mentioned by the search engine giant that published a blog post on this regard recently.

The feature is usually put off through default settings and is actually in place to assist users in knowing about all the places they’ve been to recently. Hence, those who have this enabled would see the information stored directly on their phones.

As a result, even Google cannot view it and thanks to a new extension, law enforcement firms cannot view it too as they’re barred from doing so. We’re going to see a significant drop in demand for such requests by agencies toward Google which the company might view as a relief.

Speaking more on the topic, the head for Google Maps delineated how the reason why this was being done was simple. Such information is very private and should therefore remain in that manner. It needs to be safe and private and well away from others' reach as that’s necessary, Google adds.

This particular change arrives three months since we saw one particular case getting highlighted by the media outlet Bloomberg. It had to do with the cops making use of warrants to get the data that included the user’s search history and their whereabouts. And the figures for cases that weren’t even linked to a crime were alarming as people who weren’t even involved were being targeted for no reason.

Google claims the news of such a rollout was much overdue and many couldn’t help but agree. So many different entities have been calling the tech giant for years to do something about it and alter the settings. Now, seeing this finally come into play means plenty of people can live normally without the burden of the police getting data access.

The Android maker says the changes would come slowly and steadily with news about it launching next year across both Android as well as Apple devices’ mobile systems. Moreover, this means users would get alerts whenever the change happens.

Any new geofence warrant generated in Google’s direction after the update wouldn’t be allowed, the company confirmed. The same goes for users who are saving encrypted backups for their locations on the cloud.

Google is certainly being hailed for the news but seeing it silently respond to warrants for locations for years and not taking the step sooner was and is being questioned. But it’s not the only one taking the step. We know more about Apple having the Maps app which it confirmed does not provide location data which the cops are in search of.

But that does not mean advocates are satisfied completely. They are worried about other types of warrants dubbed reverse keyword requests where cops request tech firms to give data about those looking for such specific and sensitive words.

Photo: DIW-AI-gen

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