Cops have a secret, unaccountable system for tracking you by your cellphone, and they abuse it like crazy

This is one of the most undocumented, conjecture filled, unsubstantiated articles I’ve ever read about law enforcement.

I don’t know about that. The New York Times usually doesn’t publish stuff that’s not verifiable.

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Welcome to Boing Boing!

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It’s obviously bad having the cops in on this; but the majority-of-the-iceberg-hiding-underwater part of this would, to me, seem to be the fact that “Securus received the data from a mobile marketing company called 3Cinteractive”.

The wonderful people in marketing aren’t even theoretically bound by due process requirements and the need for warrants; so it would appear that everyone is already compromised(and not just to their carrier; which pretty much has to at least have cell-level location information for anything more recent than POCSAG to work) by a shady 3rd party that probably does all kinds of cool stuff with the data.

More generally, when you have entities whose business is selling information you seem to have a very bad environment for warrant/search type protections because those are usually designed around the notion that the relationship between the people executing the warrant and the people suspected of having the information is adversarial. In cases where the party with the information is quite happy to cooperate it isn’t necessarily clear that a warrant would even be needed; and there definitely isn’t any reason to expect the party providing the information to put any effort into verifying the documentation; since they are being paid, not compelled.

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I gave all my adult siblings burner phones for their birthdays after the 2016 election. Pre-paid Tracfones, paid for with cash, of course, with a list of instructions for maintaining anonymity.

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is there a cell phone carrier that does not sell your location data?

Just look at it.

I really wonder why this didn’t make front page, yet. Did @doctorow take the blue pill? Or did @beschizza already threw it in a trashcan, and Elrond has taken over?

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Objection. Having a phone in flight mode still means being able to communicate on the go. Every now and then, I check for missed call and I call back whenever it suits me. When I know there’s an important call incoming, I switch the flight mode off for that period of time. Plus I have all the other conveniences of a mobile phone, only without the hassle.

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Modern phones often leave wifi on in airplane mode. Wifi can give plenty of location info.

It seems like this service exclusively runs off of cell tower connection info somehow, though, so even if your phone, and Google, still have enough info from WiFi data to place you at a pretty precise spot on the map, your phone wouldn’t be communicating with the cell towers, and therefore, they’d have to go to Google, which, while they’re not the steadfast privacy defenders they claim to be, and most people unfortunately believe them to be, it’s still a much more involved and slower system which can’t be abused by simply clicking a checkbox that makes you super duper swear you’re being lawful.

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See all these photos of bananas are great at keeping the discussion of state and police abuse of technology to a minimum.

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https://boingboing.net/2018/05/14/just-look-at-nokias-revived.html !

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Happy anniversary Rob, i hope you got sth. better than a look at a banana cake.

So what you’re saying is that you don’t believe it is plausible, and also you’d like to change the subject? :wink:

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Uh, not my pic! I mean, we are all Luther Blissett, but I pulled this of, errrrr, don’t know really. CNN’s twitter? Web-searched it.

However, we am honoured. Or something.
In a way.
Hope no-one will sue any of us.

ETA: found it.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET.

I must have found it somewhere else, because I didn’t modify the pic in any way, and it wasn’t linkable, so I downloaded it by accident - and the uploaded it to the BBS. For you to look at.