Google To Charge Law Enforcement For Data Related To Search Warrants, Subpoenas

Google will now begin charging for data such as emails, location tracking information and search queries that law enforcement and other government agencies can use for search warrants and subpoenas.

Google told The New York Times that fees will range from $45 for a subpoena and $60 for a wiretap to $245 for a search warrant, according to a notice sent to law enforcement officials and reviewed by the media outlet. The notice also included fees for other legal requests.

The fees are intended to offset the costs of complying with warrants and subpoenas, which have skyrocketed in recent years, especially in the county of Los Angeles.

While the fees are difficult to enforce, the NYT reports that federal law allows companies to charge the government these reimbursement fees.

One major problem law enforcement has working with companies like Google, Apple and others is the data typically comes in a raw form and the companies have been unwilling to teach law enforcement how to read it, according to a retired detective.

Still, since identifying the types of data provided by companies like Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, companies have been inundated with requests.

One type of new search warrant known as geofence searches draws on a Google database called Sensorvault that provide law enforcement with the opportunity to find suspects and witnesses using location data gleaned from user devices. The warrants often result in information on dozens or hundreds of devices, per the NYT, and require extensive legal review.

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