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The problems that arise when the police use geofencing warrants

On Behalf of | Nov 13, 2023 | Criminal Defense

Law enforcement throughout Ohio and other states have many investigative tools at their disposal. However, some of these tools and technologies raise questions from the general public. One tool that has become a topic of concern is geofencing, which uses location data from a large group of people who are concentrated in a specific area.

Privacy invasions

The police can obtain extensive information by using geofencing warrants. Once a judge grants this type of warrant, law enforcement can access almost any data from the subject’s mobile devices. Understandably, most people have concerns about the police gaining access to their private and sensitive data stored on smartphones, tablets and computers.

Limiting free speech

People and organizations that have understandable problems with geofence warrants cite them as violations of the First Amendment, which gives people the right to free speech. If people believe that law enforcement could access everything these individuals post privately, it could limit or eliminate how freely someone chooses to speak.

Wrongful accusations

Because of the far-reaching nature of information obtained through geofence warrants, these legal orders may result in people who had nothing to do with a crime being punished. When this happens, a falsely accused person may need to seek help from criminal defense professionals.

Inadequate judicial oversight

Some people believe that judges are too eager to approve geofence warrants without looking further into the details of the request. This worrisome situation can allow law enforcement to conduct thorough investigations without sufficient reason to do so.

Currently, geofence warrants remain a hot-button issue for law enforcement, advocacy organizations and citizens. Some people feel that geofence warrants cross the line from being investigative tools to outright privacy violations.