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How your digital trails wind up in the hands of the police

Ars Technica – Phone calls. Web searches. Location tracks. Smart speaker requests. “…Data collected for one purpose can always be used for another. Search history data, for example, is collected to refine recommendation algorithms or build online profiles, not to catch criminals. Usually. Smart devices like speakers, TVs, and wearables keep such precise details of our lives that they’ve been used both as incriminating and exonerating evidence in murder cases. Speakers don’t have to overhear crimes or confessions to be useful to investigators. They keep time-stamped logs of all requests, alongside details of their location and identity. Investigators can access these logs and use them to verify a suspect’s whereabouts or even catch them in a lie. It isn’t just speakers or wearables. In a year where some in Big Tech pledged support for the activists demanding police reform, they still sold devices and furnished apps that allow government access to far more intimate data from far more people than traditional warrants and police methods would allow…”

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