In a case that involves the use of a geofence order, the man pleads guilty

In a case that involves the use of a geofence order, the man pleads guilty

In a highly watched case that addressed the legitimacy of broad search warrants that use Google location information to discover persons who were near crime scenes, a Richmond man pled guilty to federal bank robbery charges.

In a case that involves the use of a geofence order, the man pleads guilty

The use of a “geofence warrant” to identify people who were near the robbery scene, breached their constitutional protection against unreasonable searches. Since he freely signed in to Google’s Location History, federal prosecutors claimed Chatrie had no reasonable expectation of privacy.

Okello Chatrie pled guilty Monday to armed robbery and use of a firearm in the 2019 robbery of the Call Federal Credit Union in Midlothian.

U.S. District Judge M. Hannah Lauck ruled in March that the warrant violated the Constitution by gathering the location history of people near the bank without having any evidence they had anything to do with the robbery. Geofence warrants seek location data on every person within a specific location over a certain period of time.

“The warrant simply did not include any facts to establish probable cause to collect such broad and intrusive data from each of these individuals,” Lauck wrote in her ruling.

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