There can be devastating consequences if a person is involved in or charged with a crime, especially when the crime in question is something as serious as arson.
Many people who find themselves in this situation wonder how law enforcement will collect evidence, what counts as evidence, and if their private data is safe from seizure.
If you’re involved in a Colorado case and an arson investigation is in progress, read on to learn more about your private data and whether it can be used as evidence in court.
Can Law Enforcement Access Search History?
In plenty of cases, law enforcement has used an accused person’s internet search history to help collect evidence and build a case.
The news has recently shed light on questionable tactics such as dragnet warrants and cell-site simulators. These methods are used to seize and examine the otherwise private data of individuals who are not suspected of criminal activity.
Some legal professionals have spoken out against these behaviors and debated whether these tactics violate constitutional rights. The public continues to struggle with whether law enforcement should be allowed to seize the internet search history of people who were not otherwise suspected of criminal activity.
If you’re involved in an arson investigation, it’s understandable that you’re concerned about how your search history may be used against you.
Google has been fighting dragnet warrants to the best of its ability, but there are other methods law enforcement uses to obtain user data.
One method involves using cell-site simulators to collect evidence during arson investigations. This term defines a device that imitates cell towers and tricks cellular devices into connecting to it. Once connected, the owner of the simulator can collect and comb through the private information of those whom the device tracked.
In some situations, law enforcement collects data from individuals suspected or accused of a crime, but in other cases, officers collect and examine data that belongs to ANY individual in a given area. This type of warrant is called a geofence warrant and is being challenged all over the country.
Arson Investigation and Google
The question is a simple one: “Can law enforcement use Google search results to compile evidence in a criminal case?” To answer simply, yes. At least for the time being, law enforcement can and does use search engine data in arson investigations.
In fact, the Denver Police did just that in response to an arson case that occurred in 2020, and this questionable method of collecting evidence is still being debated in the public sphere.
Should you find yourself involved in an arson investigation, the most important step you can take in protecting yourself is seeking legal counsel.
Reach out to The Juba Law Office as soon as possible to book a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We will help you navigate your case and protect your rights to the fullest extent of our abilities.