This is about as big brother as it gets. Anyone want to guess who the biggest customer probably is?
We have become slaves to our technology. It’s ingrained in everything we do and it won’t be long before it will be commonly embedded into humans as the elite tech folks push the limits of becoming cyborgs to achieve world domination and immortality.
(Screenshot: ZDNet. Source: State of Georgia)
Four of the largest cell giants in the US are selling your real-time location data to a company that you’ve probably never heard about before.
In case you missed it, a senator last week sent a letter demanding the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigate why Securus, a prison technology company, can track any phone “within seconds” by using data obtained from the country’s largest cell giants, including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint, through an intermediary, LocationSmart.
The story blew up because a former police sheriff snooped on phone location data without a warrant, according The New York Times. The sheriff has pleaded not guilty to charges of unlawful surveillance.
Yet little is known about how LocationSmart obtained the real-time location data on millions of Americans, how the required consent from cell user owners was obtained, and who else has access to the data.
Kevin Bankston, director of New America’s Open Technology Institute, explained in a phone call that the Electronic Communications Privacy Act only restricts telecom companies from disclosing data to the government. It doesn’t restrict disclosure to other companies, who then may disclose that same data to the government.
He called that loophole “one of the biggest gaps in US privacy law.”
“The issue doesn’t appear to have been directly litigated before, but because of the way that the law only restricts disclosures by these types of companies to government, my fear is that they would argue that they can do a pass-through arrangement like this,” he said.
LocationSmart, a California-based technology company, is one of a handful of so-called data aggregators. It claimed to have “direct connections” to cell carrier networks to obtain real-time cell phone location data from nearby cell towers. It’s less accurate than using GPS, but cell tower data won’t drain a phone battery and doesn’t require a user to install an app. Verizon, one of many cell carriers that sells access to its vast amounts of customer location data, counts LocationSmart as a close partner….
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