In most cases we hear, law enforcement departments can only request location data from companies (Google, Uber, etc) with a warrant.
However, Protocol has found that many departments, such as CBP and ICE, have been using Babel Street’s ‘Locate X’ an app that allows users to track the location and movement of mobile device holders by collecting location data from popular mobile apps.
Babel Street, which owns and sells access to ‘Locate X’ also has several contracts with other U.S. departments, including several military branches, the DEA, DOJ, and the Department of Transportation’s Office of Intelligence, Security and Emergency Response.
The access and use of this app means law enforcement can essentially ‘check in’ on any individual’s whereabouts regardless or suspicion or rights because no warrant is required. It’s yet another reason why we should all be judicious in how much of our location data is collected.