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Supreme Court: Sharing Google location PIN in exchange for bail violates privacy

Views of the Supreme Court of India. document

Views of the Supreme Court of India. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Supreme Court ruled on July 8 that requiring defendants to share their Google Location PINs with investigators to facilitate tracing operations violated privacy rights.

Justices AS Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan said the bail conditions should not defeat the real purpose of bail.

“Bail conditions cannot defeat the purpose of bail. We have already said that Google PIN cannot be a condition. The police cannot pry into the private life of a defendant on bail,” the Supreme Court said when delivering its verdict.

The verdict comes on an appeal filed by Frank Vitus, a Nigerian national and accused in a drugs case, challenging a 2022 Delhi High Court order requiring him to speak with investigating officers Share his Google Maps location as a condition of his survey.

The Supreme Court had earlier asked Google for help in better understanding the technology and testing it on the threshold of fundamental rights.

In October 2023, a bench of Justice Oka dealt with similar legal issues in another case involving allegations of money laundering. The Delhi High Court has once again granted bail to Auditor Raman Bhuraria.

One of the bail conditions is that Bhuraria “sends Google PIN location information from his mobile phone to relevant investigators, which should remain operational during his bail period.”

He was arrested in connection with the alleged money laundering probe into the Rs 3,269-crore financial irregularities case of Shakti Bhog Foods Limited.

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