Google's location history to place a Virginia man near the scene of a federal bank robbery | Eastern North Carolina Now | Sentenced to 12 years in prison

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

In 2019, police used a broad search warrant to collect the location history of 19 cell phones near the scene of a federal bank robbery in Virginia. Okello Chatrie was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Wednesday based on location data evidence gathered from his phone, the Associated Press reported.

Call Federal Credit Union in Midlothian, Virginia, was robbed in May 2019. The suspect passed "a threatening note" to the teller demanding money. He pulled out a gun and forced the workers to get on the floor. The suspect stole their phones and placed $195,000 in his backpack.
Authorities requested a court-ordered geofence warrant to help find the suspect. This warrant allowed them to collect location data from Google for any phone in the area within a specific timeframe.
Last year, Google released a report detailing how many location-related search warrants it had received, TechCrunch reported.
Google's report stated, "Since the start of 2018, we have seen a rise in the number of search warrants in the United States that order Google to identify users, based on their Location History information, who may have been in a given area within a certain timeframe. These so-called 'geofence' warrants are one subcategory of the total search warrant requests we share in our User Data Requests Transparency Report."
In 2018, Google received 982 geofence warrants. By 2020, the number of location data warrants Google received jumped to 11,554.

A Google spokesperson told TechCrunch, "We vigorously protect the privacy of our users while supporting the important work of law enforcement. We developed a process specifically for these requests that is designed to honor our legal obligations while narrowing the scope of data disclosed."

While police have been granted geofence warrants for years, Chatrie's lawyers are pushing back on the legality of the searches. They argued that these invasive warrants violate the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable searches. His lawyers stated, "It is the digital equivalent of searching every home in the neighborhood of a reported burglary, or searching the bags of every person walking along Broadway because of a theft in Times Square."

U.S. District Judge Hannah Lauck agreed that the warrant violated Chatrie's rights and the rights of the innocent parties whose data was also collected. However, Lauck denied Chatrie's motion to throw out the location data evidence. Instead, the judge found that the authorities acted in good faith and followed set procedures.

Federal prosecutors argued that Chatrie forfeited any expectation of privacy when he opted into the location tracking feature on Google.

Lauck's ruling about the unconstitutional nature of geofence warrants has some privacy advocates hopeful that changes to the law may be coming.
Sounds like if a search puts you near a crime scene at the time the crime is happening you can be found guilty.  I have to wonder if there was any other evidence or just a search that put him near the scene, but not at the scene. 

Go Back

Leave a Guest Comment

Your Name or Alias
Your Email Address ( your email address will not be published)
Enter Your Comment ( no code or urls allowed, text only please )


( August 12th, 2022 @ 6:33 pm )
Google is NOT your friend. They scoop up your data. They are both anti-privacy and anti-free speech. It is best to use a different search engine like Brave Search or DuckDuckGo. It is also best to use either a flip phone or one of the privacy oriented smart phones like the Freedomphone or ClearPhone. Android IS Google.

There was another well publicized case in Georgia where a man who rode his bicycle daily for exercise and repeated the same route got caught up in a burglary case. A house along his route got burglarized and when a similar police search found his cell phone in the vacinity of that house several times, he became the prime suspect. He had to hire a lawyer, but finally was able to convince the police not to charge him.

Facebook is also embedding code in your computer when you click on certain links that allow them to track everything you do on your computer.

WNBA Star Brittney Griner Sentenced To 9 Years In Russian Prison Rant & Rave, Editorials, Beaufort Observer, Op-Ed & Politics The Box


Latest Op-Ed & Politics

Despite installing a new "Trinity Wishbone" offense during fall camp, PragerU has once again found itself dead last in the NCAA after a 94-0 drubbing at the hands of the Florida Gators.
Hurricane Ian barreled into South Carolina on Friday afternoon, threatening Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and other coastal cities with 7-foot storm surges and massive – and potentially deadly – flooding.
The Federal Reserve Board of Governors announced that six of the nation’s largest banks will take part in a process to examine economic risks posed by climate change.
After careful consideration, America has decided that religious people can still be allowed in society, so long as they aren't one of those psychos who actually believe their religion.
Democrats and legacy media love democratically elected women — unless those women stand athwart wokeism, yelling, “Get away from me, you freaks. God. Family. Country.”
In this episode of The John Woodard Show, John Woodard Interviews Sandy Smith. Sandy is a successful business executive who has started businesses, created jobs, and worked her way up the hard way. The high energy, can-do attitude Sandy brings is exactly what's needed in D.C. to drain the swamp...


Between 2019 and 2022, female students generally recorded larger drops in proficiency rates than their male counterparts
After Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc on Fort Myers, Florida, local pastor Tom Ascol expressed trust in Jesus Christ as his congregation recovers from the damage.
The months-long drought in southern Texas has ended after local woman Stacy Ramage emptied all the water bottles from her nightstand into the water supply.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Friday that his nation has formally submitted an expedited application to become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Voter I.D. garners more support than the president or the governor
The full measure of Hurricane Ian‘s coast-to-coast trail of death and devastation in Florida was revealed as dawn broke Friday, including at least 19 deaths, countless homes washed out to sea, and millions without power
Stacey Abrams turned the medical world upside-down earlier this week with her revelation that heartbeats are a complete scam, concocted to trick women into thinking babies are alive.
Florida first lady Casey DeSantis announced Thursday evening that within just a few hours of activating the Florida Disaster Fund that more than $10 million has been raised to support communities impacted by Hurricane Ian.


Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said during an interview Thursday night that he believes that there has been “retaliation” taken against FBI whistleblowers who have exposed alleged problems within the Bureau in recent weeks.
Military experts believe the Russian war effort may be in trouble after Vladimir Putin was seen attempting to teach polar bears how to drive tanks.
The U.S. Senate passed a stopgap bill Thursday, seeking to avoid a partial government shutdown while also sending billions of dollars more to Ukraine.
Sunday is the least popular day to vote in most counties that offer one-stop voting on those days
Vice President Kamala Harris (D) faced mockery Thursday over a series of events that unfolded during her trip to South Korea.
Local man John Falco received the tragic news today from his doctor that all the things happening to his body are completely normal, he's simply 40 years old now.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) claimed during a House hearing Thursday that abortion was an economic issue because if women are not allowed to have an abortion, then parents are effectively “conscripted” to work against their will.


Back to Top