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Police in a small suburban town of 50,000 people just outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, have won a court order requiring Google to determine who has used its search engine to look up the name of a local financial fraud victim.
The court order demanding such a massive search is perhaps the most expansive one we’ve seen unconnected to the US national security apparatus and, if carried out, could set an Orwellian precedent in a bid by the Edina Police Department to solve a wire-fraud crime worth less than $30,000.
Investigators are focusing their probe on an online photo of someone with the same name of a local financial fraud victim.
The image turned up on a fake passport used to trick a credit union to fraudulently transfer $28,500 out of an Edina man’s account, police said.
The bogus passport was faxed to the credit union using a spoofed phone number to mimic the victim’s phone, according to the warrant application. (To protect the victim’s privacy, Ars is not publishing his name that was listed throughout the warrant signed February 1 by Hennepin County Senior Judge Gary Larson.)
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