Report: FBI Relied Heavily on Google Geofence Warrants in January 6 Investigations

November 30, 2022

According to journalist Marcy Wheeler, the FBI relied heavily on controversial geofence warrants as part of its investigations into January 6 suspects, identifying over 5,000 unique devices based on Google Location History. Geofence search warrants are meant to locate devices within a given area based on digital services like GPS, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi signals. According to a follow-up report by Wired, the filings suggest that these geofence warrants also captured phones that were in airplane mode or otherwise out of cell service. Further, it appears that individuals who attempted to delete their location data in the days after January 6 were of particular interest to the FBI.

EPIC advocates to increase public privacy and roll back the use of advanced surveillance technologies on the public. EPIC attorneys regularly comment on proposed expansions of surveillance technologies, submit amicus briefs highlighting the impact of these technologies, and urge lawmakers to protect public privacy.

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