The Electronic Privacy Information Center (“EPIC”), a civil liberties group based in Washington D.C., filed an amicus brief in the United States vs. Wilson case concerning Google scanning billions of users’ files for unlawful content and then sending that information to law enforcement agencies.
Bypassing the Fourth Amendment
EPIC alleges that law enforcement is using Google, a private entity, to bypass the Fourth Amendment, which requires due process and probable cause before “searching or seizing” someone’s property.
As a private entity, Google doesn’t have to abide by the Fourth Amendment as the government has to, so it can do those mass searches on its behalf and then give the government the results. The U.S. government has been increasingly using this strategy to bypass Fourth Amendment protections of U.S. citizens and to expand its warrantless surveillance operations further.
Image Hashes vs. Image Matches
Google and a few other companies have “voluntarily” agreed to use a database of images hashes from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) to help the agency find exploited children.
More than that, the companies would also give any information they have on the people who owned those images, given they are users of said companies’ services and have shared the images through those services.
Many taxpayer supported K-12 school districts use Google services, including Madison.