FBI increasingly tracking people by cell phones, and so are you
November 26th, 2007

The American FBI is increasingly asking courts to authorize surveillance by mobile phones, according to the Washington Post. Specifically, what the agency requests is permission to locate a suspect, either by identifying nearest cell phone tower or, more precisely yet, through the E911 channel. One danger:

In some cases, judges have granted the requests without requiring the government to demonstrate that there is probable cause to believe that a crime is taking place or that the inquiry will yield evidence of a crime. Privacy advocates fear such a practice may expose average Americans to a new level of government scrutiny of their daily lives.

American consumers are also increasingly interested in reaching out and touching someone, and now have new opportunities to do so. Loopt, for example, a Stanford project, lets users know when a friend is physically nearby. Verizon’s Chaperone phone plus service informs parents when their child leaves a preset area:

Set up “Child Zone” locations around specific areas, such as school and home. Get text messages whenever your family member enters or leaves the “Child Zone” with his or her handset.

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