How Google Turned An Innocent Biker Into A Thievery Suspect?

google locaion data
Credit: NBC News

Zachary McCoy, a man from Florida who used a fitness app for tracking his bike rides, fell into trouble when he was suspected of a burglary. The local police used a geofence warrant to get data from the nearby devices. A geofence warrant is a search warrant to allow law enforcement agencies to access the data stored by companies like Google against a crime suspect.

As reported by NBC News, McCoy never went to the house where the burglary took place. He was suspected because he left the location settings on for the RunKeeper app and provided his location details to Google.

As per the report, McCoy biked past the house thrice where the burglary took place as it was his usual route. His movement and thus the location data deemed him a suspect.

Back in January, Google’s legal investigation team contacted McCoy and told him the scenario that the Gainesville police are demanding for his Google location data.

He learned about the entire case when he referred to the case number mentioned in Google’s mail and found out that it was related to a burglary case that took place near his house.

Thankfully, McCoy was cleared of all the charges after he hired a lawyer to prove himself innocent.

Requests for the geofence warrants have increased on a large scale in the past few years. As reported by NBC, a rise of 1500% has been witnessed in demand of geofence warrant by law enforcement agencies.

In February 2020, Google declared that it is soon going to impose restrictions on Android Apps that are allowed to track locations of the individuals in the background.

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