Total surveillance society: mobile phones increasingly used by local police for tracking

Saturday, April 7, 2012
By Paul Martin

TheExtinctionProtocol.com
April 7, 2012

HIGH TECH – With the phrase “Big Brother is watching,” George Orwell captured the central role constant surveillance plays in dystopian visions. It’s no surprise that Americans are made uneasy by ubiquitous video cameras tracking our movements in much the same way as 1984′s screens, or the prospect of countless, effectively invisible drones monitoring our streets from the sky. What bothers far fewer people is the practice of carrying, at all times in their pocket, a cell phone that permits their every move to be monitored. You’d think, given the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment protections, that law enforcement would need a warrant to access such information. But you’d be wrong. As the New York Times reports, “Law enforcement tracking of cell phones, 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.” Credit for the discovery goes to the ACLU, which used freedom of information laws to survey police departments nationwide about their behavior. Some jurisdictions require officers to obtain warrants before asking always compliant wireless carriers for data on their customers. But in many jurisdictions, there is no such deference to individual rights. 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.” Adds the ACLU, “then there are police departments in places like Gilbert, Arizona, which have purchased their own cell tracking technology.” –The Atlantic

Video…HERE

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