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Indian Government To Track Locations of All Cell Phone Users

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the or-do-you-have-something-to-hide? dept.

Privacy 151

asto21 writes with this excerpt from The Indian Express: "As per amendments made to operators' licences, beginning May 31, operators would have to provide the Department of Telecommunications real-time details of users' locations in latitudes and longitudes. Documents obtained by The Indian Express show that details shall initially be provided for mobile numbers specified by the government. Within three years, service providers will have to provide information on locations of all users. The information will have some margin of error at first. But by 2013, at least 60 per cent of the calls in urban areas would have to be accurately tracked when made 100 metres away from the nearest cell tower. By 2014, the government will seek to increase the proportion to 75 per cent in cities and 50 per cent in suburban and rural areas."

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151 comments

Great (4, Funny)

mr1911 (1942298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060033)

No doubt this is for the good of the citizens. I hope the US follows suit soon.

/sarcasm

Re:Great (1)

Stizark (1962342) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060157)

Yeah. When it does happen in the US, I'd have a perfect reason to finally rid myself of this cell phone addiction.

/lookatthebrightside

Re:Great (1)

CimmerianX (2478270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060583)

Honestly, for the first 30 years of my life there was no such thing as a cell phone. Why can't I live without it now?

I swear of the US does this mandatory tracking, this will make us all go back to beepers circa 1992.

Re:Great (2)

Stizark (1962342) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060859)

For the first 19 years, here.

I guess I'll have to buy a real doorstop, instead of relegating the most recent yellowbook that honor. With the money I'd save, I could afford one of those really fancy 'stops.

Re:Great (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061113)

No cell phone? You must be a terrorist.

In fact, if you aren't buying the latest consumer gadget, we will have to sent you to a retraining center.

Re:Great (1)

Paracelcus (151056) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061895)

I only rarely use my cell phone & when it's in it's house (otterbox 1000 lined with a conductive coating) NO signals are sent or received.

Re:Great (1)

bobamu (943639) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060237)

I'd be seriously amazed if they aren't already doing this.

Re:Great (4, Interesting)

mitgib (1156957) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060601)

I'd be seriously amazed if they aren't already doing this.

I tend to agree, and while shocking about India, it is also refreshing they are being upfront about it.

No difference to the oppressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39062473)

Oppression is oppression, irrespective of whether the rulers try to justify it publicly or not. You seem to be implying that public disclosure somehow lessens the impact of oppression. Objectively, the relationship between the ruled and the ruler is no different.

Re:Great (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#39062891)

Why not be upfront about it?
I mean if you are going to invest millions of dollars into something like this, then you keep it secret to the public that means you are going to spend even more money to keep it under wraps. Only to have to make it public after you arrest a few people from it, because you need to use it as evidence, thus will get out publicly.

The bigger the conspiracy the harder it will be to kept under wraps, I mean if you need to hire hundreds or thousand people to keep up an infrastructure of a top secrete organization the bigger it is and the longer it will take the harder and more expensive it will become.

 

Re:Great (5, Interesting)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060803)

Oh please the US has been doing this for a long time, along with most first-world countries. In the US there is even a handy web interface for the cops to use whenever they please:

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/12/gps-data [wired.com]

Re:Great (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 2 years ago | (#39062313)

It depends on how accessible this information is, and how accountable government officials would be? I'm fine with such requests, made via a court order or under pretty strictly defined emergency situations, so long as these requests are made a matter of public record. Not necessarily a big list showing who's been tracked - stats, broken down to agency and geographical area will do. If disclosing that a request had been made would harm an ongoing investigation, then set a confidentiality period measured in weeks or months - not years. I want to be able to contact a regulator, who will within months of a tracking request, be able to tell me when I was tracked and give me contact details if I wish to raise it with the agency that requested the track. Such access, like a search warrant for a property, should not be used for fishing.

It really depends on how India plans to address these issues. I'd sure be happy to have my phone tracked if I'd collapsed somewhere, and no-one knew where the hell I was, but only if I have visibility of this. What I don't want is for some fucker to request my location, on a whim. If aforementioned fucker makes a habit of unnecessary requests then I want to know that they'll be suitably punished, and such a thing is only possible with transparency.

Given the Indian

Re:Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39063263)

If you read your own article, they specifically say that aside from tracking locations from which emergency 911 calls are made, finding missing children and with the express permission of the phone's owner. A court order is required to have access and the court order is good for 60 days during which the officers can ping for that specific phone's location once every 3 minutes. Which accounts for the high number of pings.

Working as intended. No tinfoil hat required.

So many people (3, Informative)

RazzleFrog (537054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060053)

Having been to India narrowing a persons location to within 100 meters still could mean thousands of people. It's like when they tracked the long island serial killer when he was calling a victim's sister from Times Square. They had little chance of picking out the guy from the hundreds of other people there.

Re:So many people (5, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060141)

>> within 100 meters still could mean thousands of people

All of them brightly adorned and doing a complexly choreographed, extended dance sequence.

Re:So many people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39061445)

>>extended dance sequence.
Bombay badonkadonks in action!

Just implant a chip already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39060093)

That way, it can't be turned off...

data (4, Interesting)

Poeli (573204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060119)

With 1B inhabitants, that's a hell of a lot of data to store. Privacy issue aside, I really wonder if there're not drowning themselfs in data...

Re:data (1)

DamageLabs (980310) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060313)

Easy to store, even easier to search. Location data compresses nicely when you have lots of it.

Re:data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39060325)

Well, they are The GOVERNMENT.

Re:data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39060413)

This is about real-time information. There is no need to store it.

Re:data (1)

CimmerianX (2478270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060611)

But storing it provides historical and statistical info. Companies pay big money for access to data like that. Universities doing 'studies' also want that data. Once the tracking is in place, it would be foolish to think the cell provider is keeping historicals for future sales.

Wrong (3, Informative)

necro351 (593591) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060539)

What are you talking about? If you have a tuple with 8 bytes each, that is still only 24GB for just the data. In terms of storage, buy a machine with 128GB of RAM that asynchronously writes back to a RAID volume, what's the big deal? Maybe networking would be more of an issue, but that is probably very solvable too.

Re:Wrong (3, Informative)

CimmerianX (2478270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060629)

Probably a little more because you need to date/time stamp each location for tracking....

Re:Wrong (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061115)

*A little* more. Still not even close to being an "issue" to store all this information.

Re:Wrong (2)

Artraze (600366) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061235)

First, I'm guessing you meant 8 x 32bit values, not 8 bytes, which is pretty fair... Technically larger than needed, but probably better than real world with indexing/filesystem/etc overhead.
Here's the thing though:
It's 24GB PER SAMPLE.

What's the sample rate? Certainly not 1 second like GPS. Maybe 5 minutes? That would be 288 * 24GB = 7TB every day. Now, certainly some compression is possible (e.g. don't record samples if it didn't move in that period) and you could get by with maybe 10min samples, but you'd still be looking at storage on the order of TB/day. Solvable? Sure, but I'd still think that it counts and drowning themselves in data.

Re:Wrong (4, Interesting)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061697)

That's not a lot of data, if you think it is then you haven't seen how much data some corporations have. At my last job I didn't even notice a stray terabyte here or there.

Let's say you end up with 1TB worth of data per day and 400TB per year. Facebook has 21 petabytes in it's 2000 machine hadoop cluster . Every day they add 12TB of compressed data and scan through 800TB of compressed data. Yahoo had 40000 machines in it's various hadoop clusters.

400TB a year is nothing. You'd need maybe 100 of those 12TB facebook like servers for that (with replication, etc, etc.). Let's say 300 across two data centers for true redundancy. A moderately sized cluster as such things go.

The cost of a server is I think $10000/year. So that all comes out to only $3million per year, make it $10million with all the usual corruption involved in such things. Basically peanuts to a government.

Re:Wrong (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061821)

Why would you need 8 32bit values to record coordinates? 8 bits for Latitude, 8 bits for Longitude and a 16 bit identifier should be sufficient. If you consider an ISP typically stores the first 4 bits of every packet on a gigabit network, a 32 bit per second storage system is not much of a stretch. Cisco already has a product that wraps co-ords up in SNMP packets for wireless devices. That is in addition to all of the other netflow information.

What will happen? (3, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060171)

Seems pretty obvious to me that the biggest result will be that people who are actual criminals will take pains to either turn off their cell phones, use stolen phones or just go without any time they are doing something criminal.

Meanwhile all the regular people are now even more at risk of the government or anyone else with access to this information like ex-boyfriends at the telco using this information against them.

Re:What will happen? (1)

rsmith84 (2540216) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060403)

Back to the days of having rats physically deliver hand written sentiments that are then eaten or burned.

Re:What will happen? (2)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060513)

Back to the days of having rats physically deliver hand written sentiments that are then eaten or burned.

Ewww ... the rats, or the messages?

Re:What will happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39060613)

sentiments

Re:What will happen? (1)

rsmith84 (2540216) | more than 2 years ago | (#39062013)

The messages. Inspector Gadget style.

Re:What will happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39060737)

Back to the days of having rats physically deliver hand written sentiments that are then eaten or burned.

I for one welcome our sentimental hand-written-note-writing rat overlords.

Re:What will happen? (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060543)

Seems pretty obvious to me that the biggest result will be that people who are actual criminals will take pains to either turn off their cell phones, use stolen phones or just go without any time they are doing something criminal.

You have forgotten that the vast majority of criminals are utter and complete morons. I have a friend who is a RCMP officer and you'd be amazed with his stories of criminal idiots.

Re:What will happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39060701)

The responsibility of the police is to catch (i) idiots; and (ii) those who the people in power particularly dislike.

You're not going to get many stories of smart criminals from the police.

Re:What will happen? (1)

firex726 (1188453) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061367)

Pretty much yep.

Generally speaking if you're smart about a crime you don't go around talking about it. So you'll only hear about the idiots who posted the pictures they took of the crime on their Facebook.

Re:What will happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39062979)

vast majority of criminals are utter and complete morons

Really? Most of the bankers and politicians I've met don't come off as rocket scientists; but I wouldn't call them complete morons.

Re:What will happen? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39063595)

You have forgotten that the vast majority of criminals are utter and complete morons.

So since only 30% of crimes are ever solved in Canada (15% for property crimes, 55% for violent crimes) the police must just be utter morons.

Re:What will happen? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060567)

I'm assuming that, in addition to the general spirit of gung-ho surveillance zeal, they are operating under the wishful assumption that this will give them the capability to act more competently in the case of something like the Mumbai attacks in 2008, which were coordinated in large party by cellphone...

Re:What will happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39060595)

Seems pretty obvious to me that the biggest result will be that people who are actual criminals will take pains to either turn off their cell phones, use stolen phones or just go without any time they are doing something criminal.

Meanwhile all the regular people are now even more at risk of the government or anyone else with access to this information like ex-boyfriends at the telco using this information against them.

That sounds correct, it will not prevent actual criminals from committing a crime, so what other gain would a government have from mass-surveillance?

Germany sometimes uses mobile phone data gathered during events where a lot of people are present like demonstrations for example, to be able to analyse the events afterwards.
Now consider what effect the Arab Spring and the OccupyWallStreet movements had on the governments and what the reaction of those governments was.
If a government detectes many people gathering at a certain location, asking other people to join them, then those people can be taken care of long before any news media is present at the scene.

Re:What will happen? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39061695)

Most criminals have somebody front their purchase of pre-paid phones, so the record of that phone doesn't tie to them. (Not hard to do in the ghetto, a litte bit of extra cash or drugs goes a long way in having some lackey buy a phone for you. Or they go to one of those seedy corner stores or pawn shops and get a phone where purchase records aren't so great to begin with.) At least those criminals with any street-sense do that. And they don't keep the phones for very long either. Cops may end up chasing some kid that got a free phone left out on a bus or something.

Tracking phones is one thing, but without knowing who they belong to it's not really as useful as you'd think.

This system may only be good in cases involving white collar people who tend to hold on to their phones (fancy smart-phones with all those numbers and data) or tracking people that actually want to be found.

Re:What will happen? (1)

kilfarsnar (561956) | more than 2 years ago | (#39062183)

Seems pretty obvious to me that the biggest result will be that people who are actual criminals will take pains to either turn off their cell phones, use stolen phones or just go without any time they are doing something criminal.

Meanwhile all the regular people are now even more at risk of the government or anyone else with access to this information like ex-boyfriends at the telco using this information against them.

That's a good point. It's almost as if the point is massive surveillance for myriad purposes, rather than catching particular criminals.

time to get that ham radio license! (1)

webanish (1045264) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060175)

on a more depressing note, most govt-regulated mass-communication systems are open to this type of abuse :-/

Like it would even matter. (1)

StoutFiles (2471680) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060217)

India is so overpopulated that even if they could track your general location, they wouldn't be able to spot you in the thousands of people if they wanted to arrest you.

Re:Like it would even matter. (1)

CSMoran (1577071) | more than 2 years ago | (#39062471)

India is so overpopulated that even if they could track your general location, they wouldn't be able to spot you in the thousands of people if they wanted to arrest you.

But if they want to prove you were at A when you state you were at B, the crowd does not matter so much.

It won't be long now ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39060249)

It won't be long before this same stunt is pulled in the United States. They could make an argument using the health care bill (since just about everything can be considered as pertaining to someone's "health") so that if an emergency exists they know where the individual is. Of course, they'd set it up so that they know by default where you are all the time rather than transmit the information only when an emergency call is made.

Re:It won't be long now ... (1)

softwareGuy1024 (2564569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060579)

Given American politics, the magic word would be terrorism. I have yet to see health care used as an excuse for privacy invasion.

Re:It won't be long now ... (1)

CimmerianX (2478270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060649)

You don't think they do this now?

Do you use google latitude, or any of the myriad of GPS/Navigational services?

Re:It won't be long now ... (2)

rednip (186217) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061675)

They could make an argument using the health care bill (since just about everything can be considered as pertaining to someone's "health") so that if an emergency exists they know where the individual is.

Since you brought up that much maligned health care bill in an apparent effort to slander it more, did you know (and I doubt if you did, or if you did, that you'd actually want it publicly known) that in 2014 all health plans in America will no longer be allowed to deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition? Also, the working poor (up to 133% of the poverty line; or roughly $12/hour for a full time worker who supports a family of four) will receive the same excellent Medicare that our elderly do. Similar worker who make up to 400% of that line (about $88,000) will have part of their coverage rebated by the feds based on a sliding scale to 97%.

Governments with Control Issues (4, Insightful)

justinlw (2568423) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060255)

Really, why is it that governments feel they must track our every movement, our every interaction? The answer is that governments - no matter how well they start off - all eventually end up seeking to fully control the lives of their citizens: it seems to be some sort of unavoidable emergent property of large aggregations of people. The idea of a citizen having some degree of personal sovereignty just falls by the wayside and everybody just gets swept up in the imperatives of the government. This may seem innocuous - or even benign to the naive - but the long term result is that it is a seeking of control for the sake of having control. Being traced like this can hardly be considered to be in the best interests of individual people.

Re:Governments with Control Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39062963)

I read it in the Dictionary. Freedom is Self Control. Either take care of business or business takes care of you.

there are legit reason's also... (2)

darkob (634931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060263)

If the purpose of providing user's location in real time is strictly for saving life and health of the same user (eg. if user dialed in for emergency, or is being actively searched for as a missing person, or as a person under stress as in danger of committing suicide, or a person suffering from Alzheimer's and known to wander off, etc..) then this measure seems logical and justified. However, if the purpose of the measure is to track all the people all the time, and recording this for yet unknown reasons, than the measure is to be feared and rejected as unjustified and unproportionate. There's never a question whether or not technology helps in fighting the crime. The real question is whether society (especially democratic society) wants that kind of intrusion in lives of law obedient citizens.

Re:there are legit reason's also... (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | more than 2 years ago | (#39062735)

Sure, it's fine, so long as it's properly regulated and we know who's making these requests and how often they're doing it. I want the right, with reasonable consideration given for ongoing investigations (not the endless war on terror shit), to ask a single agency to tell me who's been requesting a trace on me? This should go via court order or exceptional and well defined emergency circumstances, and anyone tracked must always have a right to an explanation.

Consider stop and search laws in the UK. We need stats here so we can see if a particular police force has become a little free and easy with civil liberties.

useless, unless (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060265)

1) Will people be required to own/carry the cell phone?

2) Will people be legally prevented from removing the battery?

Because I would do one of those things if I found out someone was tracking everyone with them. Yeah, I know the US government has the power to track us, but they don't do it all the time.

Frankly, I have no idea why so many idiots think they have to take each and every call right away. I see no problem with letting a call/text go to voicemail and getting back to them on MY schedule.

Re:useless, unless (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060577)

Will people be legally prevented from removing the battery?

Go try to pop the battery out of your iPhone and let me know how that works out for you.

Re:useless, unless (0)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060773)

Because unscrewing 2 screws, sliding off the backing and removing the battery is so hard?

Re:useless, unless (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060889)

Dont need to, the iPhone is really off when you actually turn it off. Those of us that have bothered to check by using an RF spectrum analyzer know this as fact.

In fact one of the engineers here was a real nutjob like the others here until we all started taking him cellphones to test. EVERY PHONE when turned off is actually off and not transmitting anything. The nutjobs that claim," you have to take out he battery" are just that. Nutjobs that have nothing to back up their claims.

he even left an iphone off and monitored it for 4 days with a recorder on the display and it NEVER transmitted anything on any frequency.

He is lot less of a nut now. Although he still claims that UFO's and aliens are real.

Re:useless, unless (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061743)

Here's the thing : pagers emit zero RF, but are still able to do their job.

Since a cellphone probably contains all the circuitry that you'd need to make a pager (and then some), it's not unreasonable to suppose that it could be programmed to function as one.

Who is to say that a cellphone in standby mode doesn't have a "pager command" mode that will induce it to power up the transmitter, disclose it's location to the network, and then go back off again - but only on command. Monitoring the RF emissions of a cellphone doesn't prove that this feature doesn't exist, it just proves that no-one is using it on your phone right now. I will grant that it does provide some evidence that such a system is not in ubiquitous constant use.

I find the idea stretches credibility - that governments and phone manufacturers could successfully collude to create such a system, operate it, and manage to keep it secret at the same time beggars belief. But RF monitoring a small sample of cell phones for a limited amount of time does not prove it's absence.

Re:useless, unless (1)

softwareGuy1024 (2564569) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060797)

Frankly, I have no idea why so many idiots think they have to take each and every call right away. I see no problem with letting a call/text go to voicemail and getting back to them on MY schedule.

I'm generally like you, but don't make the assumption that everyone falls into your use case. Some people may have jobs where they need to be completely reachable at times. They may be taking care of a sick relative, and need to be reached in case of an emergency. What works for you and me may not work for everyone, and that doesn't make them idiots.

Over-reaching Powers Internationally (1)

realsilly (186931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060281)

So if some person from India calls me via his cell phone, should that government have my phone number information? Will they demand to know who I am based on that information? How quickly and readily will my government hand this info over to the Indian govt.?

We are no longer simply a police-state, it has become a Global police-state.

This is very depressing for it's possible further implications.

Re:Over-reaching Powers Internationally (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060913)

ever called DELL tech support? They already have it.

Re:Over-reaching Powers Internationally (1)

sgunhouse (1050564) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061303)

Government? In this country, government doesn't know who cell users are per se. And if you have a prepay (no contract) phone, your carrier might not either ... which is why drug dealers (supposedly anyway) prefer prepay phones.

As far as the original story, I'm sure they're pushing it more along the lines of emergency services and/or civil protection orders ("We can prove from your cell phone data that yes you were on her property" sort of thing) as real-time location is pretty useless when it takes cops too long to get to the scene.

HAHA taking tips form canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39060297)

Guess india doesn't have people living in it that care about democracy....LIKE we do in canada.

Opportunity Knocks (1)

A10Mechanic (1056868) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060303)

Be the first on your block to set up a pre-paid throw-away burn-phone stand. Sheer volume of transactions, you'd be rich beyond the dreams of avarice, as long as you don't get caught...

Good News : Now record the Politicians Microphone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39060327)

Nice idea to record the politicians locations and enable remote microphone and use publish that data in wikileaks. It remove 99% of corruption and brings accountability.

 

Who's this for? (5, Insightful)

Compaqt (1758360) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060357)

For "normal" people, obviously:

There are 1,170,938,000 people in India [google.com] .

The Taj attacks were carried out by 10 men [wikipedia.org] .

Meaning 99.9999991% of the people to be affected by this are NOT the poster children/excuse for this kind of tracking.

It seems all the governments of the world are in a race to be the most onerous and most oppressive. They learn from each other, and so must we (normal peeps).

Re:Who's this for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39061897)

Just like we should've learned how "wonderful" communism was?

Simple: don't use a cellphone!

"The GPS is there in case you need to dial 911!" (0, Flamebait)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060371)

2002: laws passes making GPS mandatory in all phones made and sold after 2005. It is done, we are told, to Make Us All Safe, so that you can dial 911.
I post that it is for tracking. People tell me that I'm paranoid, that you can shut it off, that no one cares where we are.
Turns out you can't shut off tracking, that phones will not work if you manage to disable GPS tracking.
This is ignored when commented on.
Turns out that they can turn GPS on when they want to, without you knowing, of course.
People tell me, oh, so what, no one cares where you are.
Now it it turns out, they want it on all the time, you can't turn it off, and of course they care very much where we all are. It's a tautology: they track us because they can, no other reason necessary. Power wants more power.
And people tell me privacy doesn't matter anymore, that no one cares. Of course, the people who shoved this down our throats are not tracked; Wikileaks and Assange show us what happens when the powerful are tracked & outed. We don't even know who "they" are. But they sure get what they want.

Now they want to "save us money" by tracking our cars with GPS and providing that data to insurance companies, who of course have nothing but our welfare in mind. But, privacy is dead, it'll save us money, I'm a luddite...

The end result, so painfully, infuriatingly obvious ten years ago, is that you will not be able to move around with a phone, take a train, or a plane, or an automobile without you every move precisely recorded. Such tracking does not apply to the actual shadowy trackers, whom we can't even name without going to jail.

Freedom without anonymity is impossible. That's why those who ordered this and who use this have no names and no locations. The power is all one-way. If you can't anonymously speak or move around, you are a prisoner, no matter how pretty your cage is.

Re:"The GPS is there in case you need to dial 911! (5, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060771)

"Turns out you can't shut off tracking, that phones will not work if you manage to disable GPS tracking."

And this is complete bullshit. I have a nokia from 2 years ago that I can in fact make the GPS go completely off and the phone still works.

hardware Hacking with iphones also shows that the GPS is NOT required for operation and jailbroken phone show that the GPS really is OFF when set to off, same for android phones.

You know if you want to make things up, at least do a little bit of fact checking it makes people write you off right away when they see a blatent fabrication.

Re:"The GPS is there in case you need to dial 911! (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060937)

Not to mention he doesn't even tell us the name of this supposed law that was passed. Apparently the people making feature phones with no GPS didn't get the news about GPS being mandatory by law.

Re:"The GPS is there in case you need to dial 911! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39061255)

He exaggerated slightly. There was no law about GPS, but LOCATION is required. It's obtained by location of nearby cells, in the absence of GPS.
As far as the law? It's teh E-911 requirement.

So he misstated a few of the details. Still essentially right. The point still stands.

Re:"The GPS is there in case you need to dial 911! (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061533)

It was not a misstatement. It was making shit up. 911 calls have always required the relaying of location otherwise the system would be wireless. That E911 also requires location to be relayed was not some government post-911 plot, it's simply applying the same rules to wireless 911 calls. How would calling 911 on your cellphone be useful if you can't be located?

Re:"The GPS is there in case you need to dial 911! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39061899)

Same AC here.
Of course you really do need location to make 911 work.
But...you can't turn off that location tracking, it's there. It's handy. It can and is used for law enforcement as well as 911 location.

I'm not saying "location all bad, no 911 for you, die because the ambulance can't find you"

I'm just saying that his points of "Tracking can't be turned off ... they track us because they can ... freedom without anonymity is impossible" stand or fall on their own.

The details of which law requires tracking, or the fact that there are real, valid reasons for tracking are irrelevant to that argument. If the tracking was ONLY for 911 compliance, it could be triggered by the 911 (or 99999, or local equivalent) call itself. It's not. it's always there. Partly because it's easier to just always have it. Partly because someone might call their local police department directly instead of the emergency number, and still need to be found. Like I said, there are valid reasons for location tracking services for cell phones.

But that still doesn't mean that the alarmists are wrong. Things that have a valid reason to exist can be used for other purposes and abused. More and more news stories seem to support the argument that cell phone tracking is one of those things. Even if it's not being abused yet, these laws are making it easier and easier for governments to abuse it in the future.

Re:"The GPS is there in case you need to dial 911! (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061981)

I agree with you on many points. The problem is that the person above was spreading blatantly false and made up "facts". This is why most people shrug off what privacy advocates say, because the most vocal and shrill exaggerate and make things up to back up their statements. So again, the person I responded to was not make misstatements he was LYING.

Re:"The GPS is there in case you need to dial 911! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39061935)

You can speak

Re:"The GPS is there in case you need to dial 911! (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060877)

You can disable GPS completely, moron. Hell my Galaxy S has GPS that doesn't even work most of the time anyway. Not to mention there are plenty of phones with no GPS at all. Don't let these facts get in the way of patting your own back though.

Re:"The GPS is there in case you need to dial 911! (1)

javilon (99157) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061321)

Wait another five years and you'll find that even without a phone, the millions of cammeras embedded anyware will give enough biometrics to big brother's computers to track anyone outside their houses. All this they will cross reference with license plates, rfid tags, cell tower information, gps inside your phone, IP addresses you use, credit card transactions, electronic wallet transactions, and some other things that I miss.

The end result will be a historic log with your every physical movement, electronic communication and economic transaction.

No way to avoid this. We are going straight to distopia. At least I can't see any way to stop it, although I hate it as much as you.

The only way to make it barely acceptable would be to get the governments and corporations to be more transparent. Good luck with that. Child pornography, terrorism and Chinese corporate spies will be used to make sure that more and more information is hidden from us.
   

Re:"The GPS is there in case you need to dial 911! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061531)

To be completely fair, while you are crazy and using made up facts to support your argument, tower triangulation can pretty much be used trivially to locate any one self-identifying broadcast signal(i.e. a cell phone keep-alive) with relatively accuracy. Tracking you does not require a GPS, just good coverage.

Re:"The GPS is there in case you need to dial 911! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39061629)

If you can't anonymously speak or move around, you are a prisoner, no matter how pretty your cage is.

Or how big it is; it's still a cage.

Next step (1)

scsirob (246572) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060387)

Why not implement the next step right away? Just attach a collar to every world citizen and track them. Add remote control by giving electrical shocks to the left and right, and you have 6 billion living drones. If one steps out of bound, declare them 'defective' and kill on the spot.

This just disgusts me beyond belief.

Re:Next step (2)

CimmerianX (2478270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060755)

RFID implanted into the forehead that is used to verify identity for any transaction. Don't have the ID, you can't buy/sell goods once the tracking is required for every transaction.

He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:16-17

---- I don't always quote the bible. But when I do, I make it about the end of the world.
 

and can easily be foiled with.... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39060695)

a directional antenna.

If they think this will let them catch a criminal easily, they will be foiled over and over by the smart ones.

Current utilizing it in a case.. (1)

babai101 (1964448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061145)

In kolkata cell phone location tracking is already being utilized to solve a rape case where the female victim accuses 5 people who have raped her, but the locations reported by the cell phones of those accused persons show they never been in the area where the victim reported of being raped.

Re:Current utilizing it in a case.. (1)

rwise2112 (648849) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061429)

Of course they could have just left their phone at home, or with a friend. How can that be proof?

Re:Current utilizing it in a case.. (1)

orphiuchus (1146483) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061605)

It can be reasonable doubt.

Nothing New Here... (1)

Ronin Developer (67677) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061723)

A company here in the US, TruePosition, has been offering the capability to law enforcement and military to identify the location of all active cell phones in a specific area and time. This technology has implications that go beyond simple surveillance - Here is a link: http://www.trueposition.com/national-security/

Basically, if you have a cellphone or mobile device and it is on...you can't hide. And, the profiles that can be developed from when and where a mobile device is used can be used to prevent and solve crimes and terrorist activity.

While it's not exactly as shown in the TV show "Person of Interest", had similar technology been deployed in the hills of Iraq, Afghanistan and over Pakistan, the whereabouts of OBL probably would have been known to our forces much sooner. And, for other "would-be terrorists", you should think twice before making that telephone call for your next goat sex appointment - Little Miss Molly might be bringing more than just a good time. How baaaaaaad is that?

Welcome to the club.. (1)

lucifron (964735) | more than 2 years ago | (#39061845)

Norway (the promised land of freedom and liberty, my ass) enacted a similar law last april, and we're implementing it this very monent.

We've already seen mass-dna-screening using phone based location data (before the law was even in legislation; seems the police already had access to this kind of data..), and lobbying for making retained data accessible to rights holder organizations without a court process (our law lumps cell phone tracking and internet access tracking together).

Ha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39062495)

They can have my azimuthal and zenith angles, but they will never take my radius!

Tech Support? (1)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39062853)

As a silver lining, will we know where exactly our tech support call is going now?

Oh Good! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39062953)

I left my phone in a Mumbai taxi...is there a nice government employee in New Delhi that can help me retrieve it?

This system is likely to have bugs... (1)

lcam (848192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39063025)

I could turn my cell phone off for a while and they wouldn't know where I had been...

Next law, citizens must own a cellular and have it fully charged and turned on day or night.

Re:This system is likely to have bugs... (1)

rwise2112 (648849) | more than 2 years ago | (#39063257)

... and implanted in the body.

Re:This system is likely to have bugs... (1)

lcam (848192) | more than 2 years ago | (#39063341)

strike body, right hand or forehead...

No good (1)

lazycam (1007621) | more than 2 years ago | (#39063283)

At some point the bad guys will stop carrying their cell phones, so the only people left to tract are citizens. First Skype/Google [slashdot.org] , then blackberry [slashdot.org] , and now this. Does India even have or even enforce privacy laws?

Giving up on India (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39063407)

I've canceled my subscription to Asian Babes. I'll somehow have to live without the monthly struggle to keep an erection while staring in disbelief at those corpulent unibrowed mustachioed beauties.

It's India's E911 Law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39063571)

It's the equivalent of our E911 compliance rules/law/regs that have been around for years - you can take off your tin foil hat, idiots.

http://transition.fcc.gov/pshs/services/911-services/

http://transition.fcc.gov/pshs/services/911-services/enhanced911/Welcome.html

Time to go back to pagers and use VOIP. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39063645)

Time to use a pagers to receive calls, and call back using a VOIP phone over Wifi.

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