What is Google’s Sensorvault Location Services?
Google’s location services database—Sensorvault—is activated on both Android and Apple devices.
Once you’ve activated Location Services for certain Google services on your iPhone, laptop, or Android (usually in connection with apps like Google Maps), Google will begin collecting this data and dumping it into its bottomless Sensorvault database.
If you opt in for traffic alerts on Google Maps or have group photos tied to locations in Google Photos, this data is also stored in Sensorvault. As if this is not enough of an invasion of your privacy, Google also collects location information from your Google searches and other app history for which location services are enabled. This data is saved in a different database called Web & App Activity.
How are Connecticut Police Using Google Sensorvault Location Services Data?
As the best Connecticut computer crimes defense lawyers and attorneys understand, Connecticut police are serving Google with search warrants for data linked to crimes via 2 methods:
(1) searching a specific user’s Google account to see where they were on a certain date and time; and
(2) submitting “geofence requests” to Google which target areas—not people—asking Google for data related to any cell phones, watches or laptops whose IP addresses or cell signals are in the immediate area of a crime scene at the time the crime occurred.
What Do Connecticut Police Do with Geofence Request Data?
Police will then analyze this data to see if any phone numbers or IP addresses of crime suspects can be linked to the crime. Once the police narrow down the pool of potential devices, Google will provide personal identification information to law enforcement.
Can Sensorvault Location Services Be Subpoenaed in Civil or Divorce Cases?
Yes, but don’t expect Google to be responsive to your subpoenas. They get thousands of subpoenas a month and typically only respond promptly to law enforcement subpoenas. But it’s good for Connecticut’s best divorce lawyers to know that the Sensorvault Location Database exists and to speak further to a law firm that has experience in trying to shake this info out of Google for their civil or divorce case.
Can I Turn Location Services Off?
Yes. Depending on whether you are using your phone or computer, the Google Help Center tells you how to turn this feature off and how to delete your Location Services history.
Contact a Top Connecticut Criminal Lawyer Today
Technology is changing the way we practice law at lightning speed. Google’s data collection methods are at the forefront of assisting law enforcement and litigants in their trials. While police regularly rely on Google to assist them, Google data and geofence requests can also help people who are arrested with corroborating their alibis and strengthening their defense strategies. The team of criminal defense lawyers at Mark Sherman Law are keeping up with Google, its Sensorvault technology, and other practices that can help the firm’s clients. Don’t just take our word for it—read certified reviews from our former clients. Then call us today at (203) 358-4700 to schedule a consultation.