Google Location Data Misidentifies Cyclist As Burglary Suspect

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Location services have really made life easy; be it travel, food delivery or just about anything else. However, here's an instance where the location and navigation service has misidentified a person as a burglary suspect. The Google location data, the main technology involved here, has accused a cyclist as a bugler.

Google Location Tracking Identifies Cyclist As Bugler

 

The person involved in the incident, Zachary McCoy, is a 30-year-old man from Florida. However, he became a lead suspect in a burglary crime after the Google location data tracked his bike passing the crime scene three times on the day it happened. He later learned that the authorities were attempting to use a geofence warrant.

A geofence warrant is something that authorities use to collect the Google geolocation of all the people in that particular area/locality at the time of a crime. The geofence warrant gives the authorities access to personal information. McCoy received a notification with a case number, indicating that the authorities were looking for him.

Investigation Continues

Google Location Tracking Identifies Cyclist As Bugler

On receiving the notification, he looked for the case number on the Gainesville Police Department's website. The information led to a report on the burglary of an elderly woman's home that took place nearly 10 months before. The investigation was being carried out on the 97-year-old woman's home, which is situated less than a mile from McCoy's home.

"I didn't know what it was about, but I knew the police wanted to get something from me, I was afraid I was going to get charged with something, I don't know what," McCoy said to NBC News. Incidentally, he used the RunKeeper fitness-tracking app to record his everyday rides. Naturally, the app used Android's location tracking data.

 

Using this location data, the authorities identified that McCoy passed the crime scene three times on that day. For McCoy, it was a nightmarish scenario. "I was using an app to see how many miles I rode my bike and now it was putting me at the scene of the crime. And I was the lead suspect," he said.

Lucky for him, the authorities said that they haven't received any identifying information from Google. The location data wasn't enough to charge someone with a crime, they concluded.

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