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Popular apps that share your user data with law enforcement

You might be surprised to learn that companies can legally share your personal information with law enforcement agencies even if there is no probable cause that you have been involved in a crime.

Critics say privacy is being sacrificed as companies like home security provider Ring have been chronicled sharing customers’ private video straight from their doorbells.

Companies that willingly share your personal information

A few companies demand warrants before giving extensive personal data to law enforcement but will still hand over basic info such as users’ names and contact information. Other companies only ask for a subpoena, which doesn’t require that authorities show probable cause. Some of the largest digital companies that only ask for a subpoena include:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Lyft
  • Uber
  • Netflix
  • Venmo

Only three states protect a persons private data

Salt Lake City’s police department used Lyft data in an effort to find a missing college student. They also used Mackenzie Lueck’s dating app and social media accounts. However, Utah law requires police to use warrants to obtain that information.

Utah, California and Washington are the only states that require authorities to have warrants before companies are allowed to hand over private information.

Uber reports extensive requests for its user data

During the first six months of 2017, Uber said it received 1,248 requests from state and federal authorities to share data belonging to more than 3,000 drivers and riders. The ride-sharing company received warrants in only 18% of the cases while it relied on a subpoena for two-thirds of those requests.

Snapchat has even more relaxed standards as the company says it will hand out data for any “reasonable” request, rule, law or regulation.

Protecting your data and knowing your legal rights

Personal privacy laws are becoming more and more of a concern across the globe. The California Consumer Privacy Act goes into effect next January giving citizens greater control over their personal data.

If you are charged with a crime that results from your personal information being used without your permission, contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney here in Maryland can help protect your rights and help you through a complicated process.

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