Earlier this week, Google uploaded a YouTube video breaking down exactly how its team surrenders your email information to courts that issue search warrants demanding it.
The board-game-inspired video features an array of game-piece characters that pass off and progress the warrant through different levels.
In some cases, account users may have no idea a data request has been filed if their account has been closed or if Google is legally prohibited from notifying them.
Police and courts can use search warrants to seek various types of personal data, including emails and contact information in your Gmail.
Here is what happens if you aren’t notified and a search warrant is sent to Google:
If there is enough evidence to support a search warrant, an investigator fills out an application and then heads to court to get approval from a judge.
When a search warrant arrives at Google, it is given to the “screener,” who is responsible for sorting and prioritizing warrants. A matter regarding child safety is given high priority and quickly moves to the next step, the producer.
A producer examines warrants, catches errors in the paperwork, and also calls investigators to negotiate what information is relevant to the case. For example, YouTube, pictures, and contact data may not be necessary to hand over.
The agreed-upon information is gathered and then sent to investigators along with a certificate of authenticity.