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Want privacy? Turn off your cell phone!

November 11, 2008 by  

Concerns about privacy and GPS Global Positioning System (GPS) technology is causing growing concern among privacy advocates who fear that cell phones and other items could end up playing a "Big Brother" role.

The seeds of this privacy debate were planted earlier this decade as emergency responders struggled to locate people who called 911 from their cell phones. This led to enactment of the federal "enhanced" 911 law in 2005 requiring that all new cell phones be equipped with GPS technology.

With this technology, consumers can take advantage of services such as driving directions and potentially, highly targeted marketing. For example, the San Francisco Chronicle recently cited a free software project from Nokia and the University of California at Berkeley that helps drivers avoid traffic with real-time data.

Still, the technology potentially has many privacy drawbacks if it ends up in the wrong hands. One way around such concerns at this point is to simply turn off your cell phone when privacy is desired.

Some of the current debate focuses on law enforcement using GPS to track crime suspects. In September a federal judge ruled that law enforcement must have a warrant based on probable cause to compel providers to turn over customer location records.

However, in 2005, another federal judge ruled that authorities were justified in attaching a GPS device to a drug suspect’s car without a warrant, claiming that the suspect had no reasonable expectation of privacy while operating on public roads.

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  • Wesley L. Fray

    As a soldier your feeling is understood. You could not do what you were ordered to do with a feeling of disgust. The economy at home is a result of that war that was initiated on lies. Thats Mr Obama’s position. He will be your comander in Chief shortly, respect that. Those people that you killed did not diserve to die at your hands.

  • tlcox

    For all those concerned about “big brother is watching” you have to remember you are an American not some citizen from a third world.  If GPS in your cell phone is your biggest worry you may want to cosider not buying the service.  It is an option, a very good option if you want to find your missing child or even find your lost phone.  So Get real,  technology is a very good thing. 

  • Bob Livingston

    The only way to turn this “tracking” off is to shut down your phone, it is not actually activated unless you call 911.  Remember that cell phones are continually connecting to towers. Records are kept of every tower your phone communicates with. While it may not be as precise as true GPS, this information is being recorded any time your phone is on. –Bob.

  • http://PersonalLibertyDigest PARIS

    Turn off your cell phone
    First of all the technology is very fast and that is not a good idea. We are not living in a free world anymore. We are now living in a democracy no privacy. There is no such thing of privacy anymore that is gone.
    We are living in the last days, God spoke about that 1900 yrs ago.

  • h2om

    Take out the battery when you don’t want to be tracked. It is the only way

  • Leland Josey

    Interesting read. There is currently quite a lot of information around this subject around and about on the net and some are most defintely better than others. You have caught the detail here just right which makes for a refreshing change – thanks.


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