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Tech platforms support New York bill to ban invasive geofence warrants

Data often gets handed over on everyone in an area at a certain time, or everyone who searched for certain keywords.

Tech giants Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, through a coalition of tech companies called the Reform Government Surveillance, have expressed support for a New York bill that will ban law enforcement from obtaining geofence and keyword search warrants.

In a statement, the coalition said it “supports the adoption of New York Assembly Bill A84A, the Reverse Location Search Prohibition Act, which would prohibit the use of reverse location and reverse keyword searches.”

Geofence warrants require tech companies to send the location data of devices that were near the location of a crime at a specific time to help identify suspects. Keyword search warrants require tech companies to provide data on users who search for a particular keyword at a specific time.

Related: Geofence warrants are increasing at an alarming rate

Companies like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft are often served with these warrants because they store and collect massive amounts of location data markers from their users’ devices and apps. Additionally, these companies provide search services.

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