Law enforcement tracking of cellphones, once the province mainly of federal agents, has become a powerful and widely used surveillance tool for local police officials, with hundreds of departments, large and small, often using it aggressively with little or no court oversight. (via nyt, At)
- Depending on your phone, officers can get GPS data that shows everywhere you’ve been, and they needn’t even tell you they’re doing so. It’s a practice that renders privacy rights almost meaningless.
- Perversely, cell phone carriers are even profiting from sharing information about their customers. Says the Times, “Cell carriers, staffed with special law enforcement liaison teams, charge police departments from a few hundred dollars for locating a phone to more than $2,200 for a full-scale wiretap of a suspect.”
- “then there are police departments in places like Gilbert, Arizona, which have purchased their own cell tracking technology.”
- the decision to use a cell phone effectively surrenders a huge amount of privacy
You might think that this helps in catching terrorists - remember that Osama wasn’t using his and even took out the battery when in his compound.