Cell phone tracking now routine police action

Credit: flickr/exfordy

e911 regulations mandate cell phone location tracking for emergencies. Now local police routinely track cell users without court orders or warrants.

So says The New York Times, discussed by well over 500 comments. Police give examples of finding victims of criminal attacks, but most departments keep their surveillance secret. With laws vague, papers gathered by the A.C.L.U. found cell phone tracking common, and court oversight lacking. Unlike some TV shows and movies, however, examples of recording conversations (wiretapping) without court orders were not found, says the A.C.L.U.

Carriers embraced this new revenue tool, with special teams assigned as law enforcement liaisons and published fee schedules. Location? A few hundred bucks. Full wiretap? $2,200. Police officials were quoted as having the attitude that "legal questions were outweighed by real-life benefits."

Big Brother

The information is the cell providers, and they can sell it to the police if they want to.

Zanok on gizmodo.com

This is so terrible, and yet, apart from giving money to the ACLU it's not clear what I can do about it.

javajosh on news.ycombinator.com

Ask any cop and they will tell you that they often view our "rights" as a complete hinderance to their effectiveness.

Nrsolis on news.ycombinator.com

Only criminals need worry

Seems to me that law abiding citizens have less to fear than those engaged in illegal activities

Rhipp on nytimes.com

If you're out and about in public, your location isn't private. This is obvious, because it's clearly lawful for the police to simply follow you around in public.

tptacek on news.ycombinator.com

Frankly, if my child were kidnapped, and quick application of technology could save them, or result in quick apprehension of a bad guy, I would advocate fast-tracked response. If you want privacy, you can always turn off your cell phone.

jljarvis on nytimes.com

I was mugged in Chicago last summer and my phone was stolen. The phone and the people who mugged me were in police custody ten minutes later because of cell tower phone tracking.

tptacek on news.ycombinator.com

Privacy still alive

Out here in the Midwest, the Chief of the South Bend, Indiana, Police Department was just pushed to resign as the department is under federal investigation for wire tapping of phones without warrants.

PJB on nytimes.com

checks and balances (oversight), the most significant portion of our Constitution, and meant to enforce limited government.

fbastage on gizmodo.com

And this story doesn't even bring up all the surveillance cameras and face recognition software. Privacy? Privacy? Has anyone seen privacy?

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