Monday, November 26, 2007

Cellphone Tracking Powers on Request

My apologies for the long absence, I've been battling the cold of the century!

Now, back to the world of Big Brother!

This story immediately caught my eye...sending chills down my spine in the process. I first heard of cell phone tracking a few tears fact, it wasn't just tracking, it was the government actually listening in on people through THEIR cell phones. Granted, the people they were doing it to were mobsters, but it doesn't take a brain surgeon to realize this "ability" to not only track but listen in on people, by the government, through our cell phones, is something that could be grossly abused.

Apparently, the government has been tracking cell phone users...A LOT...and without probable cause!

This from the Washington Post:

Federal officials are routinely asking courts to order cellphone companies to furnish real-time tracking data so they can pinpoint the whereabouts of drug traffickers, fugitives and other criminal suspects, according to judges and industry lawyers.

In some cases, judges have granted the requests without requiring the government to demonstrate that there is probable cause to believe that a crime is taking place or that the inquiry will yield evidence of a crime. Privacy advocates fear such a practice may expose average Americans to a new level of government scrutiny of their daily lives.


"Most people don't realize it, but they're carrying a tracking device in their pocket," said Kevin Bankston of the privacy advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Cellphones can reveal very precise information about your location, and yet legal protections are very much up in the air."


"Permitting surreptitious conversion of a cellphone into a tracking device without probable cause raises serious Fourth Amendment concerns especially when the phone is in a house or other place where privacy is reasonably expected," said Judge Stephen William Smith of the Southern District of Texas, whose 2005 opinion on the matter was among the first published.


The trend's secrecy is troubling, privacy advocates said. No government body tracks the number of cellphone location orders sought or obtained. Congressional oversight in this area is lacking, they said. And precise location data will be easier to get if the Federal Communication Commission adopts a Justice Department proposal to make the most detailed GPS data available automatically.

Click here to read the article in its entirety...

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