Ars Technica: Feds reap data from 1,500 phones in largest reported reverse-location warrant by Kate Cox (“The search warrants demanded nine hours’ worth of location history from Google.”):
Federal investigators trying to solve arson cases in Wisconsin have scooped up location history data for about 1,500 phones that happened to be in the area, enhancing concerns about privacy in the mobile Internet era.
Four Milwaukee-area arsons since 2018, as yet unsolved, have resulted in more than $50,000 of property damage as well as the deaths of two dogs, Forbes explains. In an attempt to find the person or persons responsible, officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) obtained search warrants to gather data about all the devices in the area at the time.
The two warrants Forbes obtained together covered about nine hours’ worth of activity within 29,400 square meters—an area a smidge larger than an average Milwaukee city block. Google found records for 1,494 devices matching the ATF’s parameters and sent the data along.