Cell phone tracking device
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Your cell phone is now a tracking device
By K. D. Seefeld
Those who give up liberty for the sake of security deserve neither liberty nor security.
--- Ben Franklin
A few days ago, Governor Doyle signed legislation to improve 911 service for cell phones. According to the Wisconsin Legislature/Associated Press, the bill creates a new surcharge (if you didn’t know, surcharge is another word for TAX), on monthly cell phone bills to help cover a federally mandated program (which is contrary to the Constitution and the tenth amendment) allowing law enforcement to pinpoint 911 calls from mobile phones. (It doesn’t matter if you need an ambulance; law enforcement will be involved.)
In the name of improving safety and protection, what Doyle actually signed was a bill turning your cell phone into a tracking device.
For the record, it wouldn’t make any difference who was governor, this bill along with the .08 blood alcohol level law was nothing short of blackmail and coercion by the federales imposed on the states.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has mandated that cell phone makers imbed tracking technology, Enhanced 911 (E911), in the phones so that wireless carriers can monitor your phone's whereabouts - even when the phone is turned off.
Why would the government want to know where your phone is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? We were led to believe the legislation would improve 911 service. How many people are going to call 911 when their phone is turned off? Answer: Approximately zero.
Your wireless carrier will know where you and your phone are at all times. Will your carrier share their tracking information with commercial services?
McDonalds or Starbucks might like to know when you are near by so they can e-text your phone a 10% off coupon. Seriously, this can and will happen.
Tracking you through your cell phone creates valuable information. The information can be stored and used to profile your preferences and create a history of your movements. Once that information is stored, unscrupulous carriers or hackers can steal or sell it.
However, the most bothersome issue goes back to law enforcement. An iBrief by Aaron Futch and Christine Soares of Duke University explains:
In the immediate aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the privacy groups that had earlier expressed concern over the implementation of the E911 standard found that as the U.S. commitment to the war against terrorism deepens, the need to track terrorists operating within the United States may lead intelligence and law enforcement to seek a greater degree of access to E911 tracking information than they would have needed before the attacks.
As we have seen, the government’s desire to track terrorists has become a war on the freedom of the citizens. The E911 legislation is another intrusion into our privacy by a government that is becoming more of a police-state everyday.
Suppose, unknowingly, you had been in the vicinity of an armed robbery when it occurred. The only information the cops have from witnesses is a suspect 6’ tall, medium build, and wearing jeans and a shirt. With E911 technology and the required assistance of wireless carriers, the cops could get a listing of every cell phone user in that vicinity at the time of the crime.
Remember, you were in the vicinity and you had your cell phone with you. You are 6’ tall. You have a medium build. You own a pair of jeans and a shirt. Hello, suspect.
Farfetched? Not really. Now, suppose your name is Jose Luis Alvarez. According to an article in the Miami Herald the other day, Jose Luis Alvarez has been detained at Miami International Airport perhaps 50 times because a fugitive shares his name. Detained means held, questioned, searched, and investigated.
Your cell phone has indicated that you could be Jose Luis Alvarez the fugitive, and you, Mr. 6’ foot tall, medium build, owner of jeans and a shirt are Jose Luis Alvarez, regular detained Joe.
So, what to do about protecting your cell phone/tracking device privacy? You could spend 24 bucks on a thing called the Mcloak or email 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. and complain to the big guy.
You may want to consider the former since the Secret Service collects and keeps all emails sent to the latter.