App companies routinely hand over private data to cops

Illinois readers who are concerned about privacy issues should be aware that many tech and app companies readily share customer information with law enforcement agencies without a warrant, according to a report by Government Technology magazine. These companies include Ring, Lyft, Uber, Netflix, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Venmo.

According to the report, law enforcement officers routinely ask people for footage from their Ring video doorbell systems, which send videos of suspicious activity to a consumer's smartphone. If a consumer refuses, authorities can get the video directly from Ring, which is owned by Amazon. In fact, Amazon is so interested in police having access to Ring footage that it is urging law enforcement agencies to join community boards across the country so that they can persuade consumers to hand over incriminating videos.

Many consumers assume that they own the videos and personal information associated with their devices and apps, but that isn't necessarily the case. Currently, only California, Utah and Washington require law enforcement to obtain a warrant before obtaining information collected in apps, including video footage, names, contact information and IP addresses. In other states, it's up to the company to decide if it will require a warrant before handing over private data. However, many popular companies, including Facebook, Instagram, Lyft and Uber, will hand over private data with just a subpoena, which doesn't require proof of probable cause. Meanwhile, it's Snapchat's policy to hand over private info whenever law enforcement makes a reasonable request for it.

Individuals facing criminal charges have the right to mount a defense against the allegations. A criminal defense attorney may work to protect a defendant's rights and challenge any prosecution evidence that was obtained without a warrant. If the challenge is successful, the charges might be reduced or completely dismissed.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
EMAIL US FOR A RESPONSE

Ready To Discuss Your Case?

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Office Location:
140 S. Dearborn Suite 411
Marquette Building
Chicago, IL 60603

Toll Free: 866-587-9887
Phone: 312-386-7033
Fax: 312-277-1920
Chicago Law Office Map

Phone Numbers: Review Us