The US law enforcement officials have identified a new technique to trace crime suspects’ location with the help of Google’s Sensorvault database, containing detailed location records of millions of devices worldwide. The development raises concerns about the privacy of user’s data with Google.
According to Google, the real purpose of the database is to target ads and understand how effective they are. The Sensorvault database is connected to a Google service known as location history. Google reminds users to enable the feature every time they are using a certain app or service. Users enabling location history can get a comprehensive view of their activities.
The company says that it manages users’ data privacy concerns carefully. Google reportedly ensures that the database is exposed to the officials only after they analyse and narrow down the devices relevant to their investigations. Richard Salgado, director of law enforcement and information security at Google, said, “We vigorously protect the data privacy of our users while supporting the important work of law enforcement.”
According to Salgado, a new process has been created for important investigation requests, and Google will disclose data of ‘specific users where legally required’. Although it is common for officials to seek help from technology companies, the use of Sensorvault has raised concerns among Google users.