In a criminal investigation, do the police have access to shopping information / do the police do research that far?

In case of any police officer requesting data from recently bought products (for example walmart), can they get security camera footage of the time those items were bought?

  • 1
    Not all rewards card systems are set up in a way that the data may easily be retrieved in response to a warrant or subpoena as a technical matter, although sometimes it can be done, and this information isn't legally protected any differently than other ordinary business records of a company.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Dec 1, 2022 at 18:15

2 Answers 2


In addition to compelling a store to produce evidence such as video footage, via a search warrant as described by bdb484, police can request access to information in the possession of such information. The store may voluntarily comply with the request, or not. Especially in the case of online transactions, there may be a privacy guarantee that information about a customer's transaction will not be revealed to a third party unless required by law (ergo, a warrant), but security camera recordings are not protected by such guarantees.


If there is probable cause to believe that the data or footage contains evidence of a crime, the police can get a warrant to obtain it. See, e.g., United States v. Mohammad, 471 F. Supp. 3d 809, 811 (N.D. Ohio 2020) (calculating defendant's sentence based on evidence from grocery store cash-register receipts); United States v. Saleh, No. 14-cr-00148-CMA-1, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 215807, at *42 (D. Colo. Apr. 19, 2017) (rejecting challenge to conviction based on evidence obtained through warrant authorizing search of grocery store's surveillance system);

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