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Google receives court orders from the police to reveal all users who searched for certain information on the Internet.

Nothing characterizes a person more than their Internet search history, and in order to obtain such important information about the user, law enforcement officials need a court decision. However, as recently declassified court documents show, investigators can also work in reverse - asking not for the search history of a specific suspect, but for a list of all users who entered certain keywords into the search engine.

According to CNet, in August of this year, police arrested singer R. Kelly's assistant, accused of sexual assault, Michael Williams, for setting fire to a witness' car in Florida. He was charged with tampering with a witness and arson after police asked Google for information about those who Googled the car owner's address around the time the arson was carried out.

According to court filings, Google provided police with the IP addresses of users searching for the victim's address, and they were able to link the IP address to Williams' phone number. Using this number, the investigation was able to establish the location of the suspect at the time of the fire and confirm that it was he who carried out the arson.

These keyword search warrants (called "keyword" warrants) are similar to "geofence" warrants, where police ask Google for data on all devices registered near a crime scene at a specific time.

As Google representatives said on Thursday, October 8, the company is committed to protecting the privacy of its users, while providing assistance to law enforcement agencies.

“We require court orders and seek to narrow the scope of specific claims if they are too broad, including by challenging them in court if necessary. Requests for disclosure of this data represent less than 1% of the total number of warrants and a small portion of the total requests for disclosure of user data that we currently receive,” said Richard Salgado, director of law enforcement and information security at Google. .