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Systems That Can Secretly Track Where Cellphone Users Go Around the Globe

samzenpus posted about a month ago | from the oh-watching-the-places-you'll-go dept.

Businesses 76

cold fjord writes with this story about the proliferation of companies willing to sell tracking information and systems. Makers of surveillance systems are offering governments across the world the ability to track the movements of almost anybody who carries a cellphone, whether they are blocks away or on another continent. The technology works by exploiting an essential fact of all cellular networks: They must keep detailed, up-to-the-minute records on the locations of their customers to deliver calls and other services to them. Surveillance systems are secretly collecting these records to map people's travels over days, weeks or longer ... It is unclear which governments have acquired these tracking systems, but one industry official ... said that dozens of countries have bought or leased such technology in recent years. This rapid spread underscores how the burgeoning, multibillion-dollar surveillance industry makes advanced spying technology available worldwide. "Any tin-pot dictator with enough money to buy the system could spy on people anywhere in the world," said Eric King, deputy director of Privacy International.

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Oh please, we've had this for decades (5, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a month ago | (#47748873)

The concept that we don't track you illegally worldwide is a wonderful fairy tale, but we do track you.

Now stop using it in the bathroom. That's just gross.

Re:Oh please, we've had this for decades (1)

PPH (736903) | about a month ago | (#47749301)

Now stop using it in the bathroom. That's just gross.

Particularly that third stall from the end.

When Roaming people turn off cell mode (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47749367)

As the cost are high and data is insane 15 TO 20 A MEG

Re:When Roaming people turn off cell mode (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a month ago | (#47749651)

actually, when you buy in bulk TBs are cheap, and mem prices drop, especially when you have 100 GB/s pipes

Re:When Roaming people turn off cell mode (1)

donaldm (919619) | about a month ago | (#47754273)

actually, when you buy in bulk TBs are cheap, and mem prices drop, especially when you have 100 GB/s pipes

Disks may be relatively cheap especially in OEM quantities, however when the requirement is for multi petabytes then you cannot think in terms of a collection of single disks even in a RAID array you have to consider a Storage Area Network and the infrastructure to manage, backup and even do a recovery. When you start adding up the costs this does not come cheap.

Yes governments, especially those in first world countries can build up the necessary infrastructure to capture information and it comes out of tax payers pockets, but you only need one whistle-blower and that government has egg on it's face. Of course some governments don't care and are quite happy to build something like this even if it means their people starve.

Re:When Roaming people turn off cell mode (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a month ago | (#47757437)

You're assuming I don't work for the government.

Re:Oh please, we've had this for decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47749847)

Indeed.

The was a scene from the 90s remake of Vanishing Point where Kowalski throws his cell phone into the luggage compartment of a Greyhound bus, leaving the feds a thousand miles off the trail.

Re:Oh please, we've had this for decades (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month ago | (#47750369)

This just illustrates that government attempts at "surveillance" of their own citizens can be used against them, and actually constitute a very serious national security risk.

If they don't start getting that through their heads (which they really should have by now), they're in for a very serious surprise.

Re:Oh please, we've had this for decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47754107)

No worries, it's just one guy in an undisclosed lotion.

Better ways to track users (5, Funny)

kamapuaa (555446) | about a month ago | (#47748893)

This is good technology, but not as good technology as that thing where people call the bad guy and have to stay on the phone with him for 20 seconds in order to trace the call. If I can offer one recommendation: they should work on making that like 19 seconds. Because 90% of the time the bad guy knows it takes 20 seconds, and has a stopwatch by the phone, and hangs up at like 19 seconds, just to toy with the good guy.

Re:Better ways to track users (1)

StormReaver (59959) | about a month ago | (#47749679)

Because 90% of the time the bad guy knows it takes 20 seconds, and has a stopwatch by the phone, and hangs up at like 19 seconds, just to toy with the good guy.

I'm pretty sure that the U.S. Government doesn't need a stopwatch to know when 20 seconds are up. I'm also pretty sure that toying with Edward Snowden isn't as much fun as it may seem. But then again, the U.S. Government is rather psychotic nowadays.

Re:Better ways to track users (5, Funny)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about a month ago | (#47749867)

Because 90% of the time the bad guy knows it takes 20 seconds, and has a stopwatch by the phone, and hangs up at like 19 seconds, just to toy with the good guy.

Which is why, back in 2007, the NSA infiltrated stopwatch manufacturers and altered their timing mechanisms so they run slow - when a stopwatch says 19 seconds, in truth it's been a bit over 20 seconds. So now when the bad guy thinks he's outsmarted the beautiful police detective, she's had time to set up that GUI in Visual Basic and knows exactly where he is.

Don't believe me? Just look at the number of world records that have fallen during the last few Olympic Games.

I should be more careful (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47748895)

I probably should not have loaned out my phone to that bearded gentleman carrying the AK-47 who was heading to the Sudan. I need to rethink that sort of generosity.

Storm in a teacup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47748901)

Mobile networks can see countries and Cell ID's of the phones. It is, however, rare to have the data that maps Cell ID's to locations for every cell tower in a country, especially given they can change frequently.

It would be easy to identify the Cell ID of a specific cell tower, if you were near to it, but that's a different use case.

This really doesn't bother me.

Re:Storm in a teacup (5, Informative)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a month ago | (#47748981)

Not true.

The basis of triangulation is you get pings on multiple cell tower logs, it decides which cell tower serves you, but you show up in all of the traces.

With three or more point sources it's fairly easy to pinpoint your location, and when you turn on Bluetooth and wireless we get additional data that allows us to locate even your elevation.

And there's more, but I'm not supposed to talk about what we can do to your actual phone.

Re:Storm in a teacup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750477)

Not true.

The basis of triangulation is you get pings on multiple cell tower logs, it decides which cell tower serves you, but you show up in all of the traces.

With three or more point sources it's fairly easy to pinpoint your location, and when you turn on Bluetooth and wireless we get additional data that allows us to locate even your elevation.

And there's more, but I'm not supposed to talk about what we can do to your actual phone.

Who is this "we" that you keep mentioning?

Re:Storm in a teacup (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a month ago | (#47751243)

And there's more, but I'm not supposed to talk about what we can do to your actual phone.

Who is this "we" that you keep mentioning?

I can neither confirm nor deny why I use we in referring to actions taken in prior decades.

Re:Storm in a teacup (1)

HiThere (15173) | about a month ago | (#47752809)

But if you make the battery blow up, you can't track the phone anymore.

Re:Storm in a teacup (4, Informative)

psergiu (67614) | about a month ago | (#47749157)

If you remember a little device from 2007 called iPhone - it introduced a "novel" idea: Let's find out where we are based on the nearby cell towers - we get a list of nearby cell towers and distance from them (can be computed: power & ping delay) and we ask a central data base where the tower location is and we triangulate based on that.

The Cell ID location databases are still active and public (and used for AGPS [wikipedia.org] in the newer iPhones and other devices). And even if you cannot access it, by just driving around with a GPS-enabled device and some logging software you can build your own map.

And the cell locations are NOT changing frequently. It costs A LOT to have a tower in place: the only things that are changing once a tower is in place is the antennas (orientation and type/spread) and back-end network hardware (upgrades from 2G cards to 3G to 4G ...)

Re:Storm in a teacup (2)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about a month ago | (#47750141)

If you remember a little device from 2007 called iPhone - it introduced a "novel" idea: Let's find out where we are based on the nearby cell towers

Minor correction. This technique was not introduced by the iPhone. Google Maps was doing this on Nokia/SonyEricsson J2ME candybar phones for years beforehand. When Apple licensed Google Maps they got access to the same technology. As far as I know Google invented this, although it's one of those ideas that's obvious enough to anyone who explores the problem that I'm not sure "invent" is a useful word to deploy.

Re:Storm in a teacup (1)

gstovall (22014) | about a month ago | (#47750291)

Shoot...the telecom manufacturer I worked for demonstrated this back in the early 90s. Didn't need any logic in phone -- just service provider logic correlating relative powers reported by multiple cell sites.

Re:Storm in a teacup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750679)

The idea of triangulation using transmitters is far older than that. It's the basis of GPS after all, but if you include visible light (it's EM waves after all) sailors were doing it with landmarks centuries ago (trigonometry to get distance). In many ways this is just '... but on a computer!'

Re:Storm in a teacup (3, Informative)

PPH (736903) | about a month ago | (#47749249)

rare to have the data that maps Cell ID's to locations for every cell tower in a country

I'd expect that data to be readily available at some point in the cellular system. Otherwise, how would they route an incoming call to a cell phone to the proper tower? As you move, your phone continuously 'checks in' with the nearest towers. Depending on the definition of 'where cell phone users go around the globe', that will probably satisfy most nosey governments.

If they need better resolution, they could craft a special SMS message tha would not cause your phone to display any activity, but would provide an acknowledgement with triangulation data to the message originator.

As far as knowing where the cell towers are; in the USA that's a matter of public record [fcc.gov] .

Re:Storm in a teacup (4, Informative)

psergiu (67614) | about a month ago | (#47749373)

Actually, that's part of the GSM protocol.

You can "ping" a device in th GSM network and that device will return a reply containing the current Cell ID and distance from the tower. And with some devices you can "ask" them to seek a different cell - and it will return that as the reply. The owner of the phone only sees the cell signal bar fluctuating.

Also over the course of a phone conversation, both devices will tell the other one the Cell ID at the beginning of the call and at every hand-over between cells.

Re:Storm in a teacup (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a month ago | (#47749961)

rare? it's not rare as it's easy to build such maps.

google has such a map. nokia/ms has. and apple has as well.

but the tracking doesn't really work for "anyone". rather it works for people who are using an operator from your country(or if you can snoop on the data).

that doesn't mean that anyone could buy just some sw and track anyone, it just means usa can track all verizon users and finland could track all finnish people moving all over the globe(provided they keep their finnish sim in their phone and the phone on. all data they use through that sim routes back through finland too, through their operator).

I fail to see the news.

Re:Storm in a teacup (1)

psergiu (67614) | about a month ago | (#47750801)

Well ...
As long as you can push a SIM-App to that Phone's SIM card, that program can periodically send updates with the current location (Network ID, Cell ID, power) to another network-connected device without the owner ever knowing. It's invisible even to the phone OS, as everything happens inside the SIM and radio module)

And all newer SIM cards (all that have a SIM Application menu, 2001 or newer) can do this, and your network operator (or anyone having the proper network access) can push something OTA to your SIM. You will just see your phone losing it's mobile network for a couple of seconds and reconnecting - that was the SIM's CPU rebooting with the updated firmware.

Re:Storm in a teacup (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47751027)

Mobile networks can see countries and Cell ID's of the phones. It is, however, rare to have the data that maps Cell ID's to locations for every cell tower in a country, especially given they can change frequently.

Obviously it can only be feasible create skyhook databases containing location of every $50 access point Joe consumer sets up in their homes.

This really doesn't bother me.

Ignorance is bliss.

This is a surprise to anyone? (4, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about a month ago | (#47748905)

I just assumed that if you can communicate bidirectionally that they roughly know where you are.

Isn't that partially why receive-only paging services still exist, because those that don't want their location tracked still want to be able to receive notices?

Re:This is a surprise to anyone? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47749155)

The surprising part (to some people) is not that the provider knows where you are but that anyone who knows SS7 can submit query like "where is 1-123-456-7890?" to the cell network and the provider will tell them.

Re:This is a surprise to anyone? (1)

guises (2423402) | about a month ago | (#47755069)

This is indeed surprising to me. I'm anyone - you're saying that I can find someone's location this way? Or are you saying that only someone with access to the phone company's network can do this?

Re:This is a surprise to anyone? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47749281)

The "surprise" is that this data is available to seemingly unrelated parties who aren't even state actors. The only data sufficiently protected by the phone system is payment data, because that's what the operators, and by extension the designers of the system, care about.

That's not all there is to it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47750731)

The point is that both the systems know too much and are too free with giving it out (and retaining, and so on). They're simply not built with privacy in mind, when they could be.

That last bit is easy to see if you envision a system that doesn't track you as closely, but sends out its "you have a call coming, please contact the nearest tower" messages over such a long distance paging service, integrated into the system. I mean, you could well build such a thing and then telcos don't need to keep close track of which handset is where, nevermind storing those rather detailed cell tower records for a couple years.

Then, as long as you don't get called, you don't need to be tracked. Of course, "interested parties" could use trickery to make your phone spill its location by setting up fake calls and such, but if you'd have an open source phone with open source firmware you could again put a stop to that: You'd at least have the tools to stop bleeding so much. With the current crop, you won't have that even with FOSFirmware access; it's designed out of your hands.

I say that it should be possible to design an alternative phone system and even do it as a FOSSFH project that works as well for voice, point-to-point data (eg end-to-end encrypted voice, not "internet access") and perhaps packet data plus whatever other features (mesh operation, call groups, push-to-talk, whatever) on top of ISM bands with much better privacy features. Now all I need is a few enthousiastic people who understand what's possible and what's at stake here.

Re:That's not all there is to it. (1)

TWX (665546) | about a month ago | (#47752171)

Paging protocols were never that efficient though. I did work at a company that had been a paging service company previously and had migrated into the software side, and apparently it was possible to set up the network to send-out pages several times since there was no feedback that a page was received, and pages weren't always queued up and sent as quickly as one would normally like, at least not quickly enough to allow for near-real-time use like you describe.

I do like the idea though, it would save bandwidth and battery life most likely.

Re:This is a surprise to anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47753435)

I just assumed that if you can communicate bidirectionally that they roughly know where you are.

As other replies to your comment have mentioned (but have not yet matched your mod5 visibility level), the *surprise* here is that this information is available to anyone of the 7 billion people on the planet with a fat enough wallet. Not just law enforcement agencies.

I don't mind that the government _can_ tap my phone and track me. In the right sorts of circumstances. But I sure as hell do mind that my rich nosey next door neighbor can. I know it's tough to get your mind around the nuance of that distinction. You are probably still in denial. This news is *shocking*.

does airplane mode prevent tower contact? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47748921)

Does anyone know for certain whether airplane mode prevents the phone from contacting towers?

It seems like it ought to, being as the point of airplane mode is to not have the phone radiate. But these days you never know...

Re:does airplane mode prevent tower contact? (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a month ago | (#47749005)

Mostly yes. It depowers the cell and wireless circuits, which is why it gives you longer battery life.

Assuming there isn't something running on the device level that wakes up the wireless or cell circuits for an ID ping every so often.

Re:does airplane mode prevent tower contact? (1)

alen (225700) | about a month ago | (#47749375)

android if you power down the wifi it still looks for wifi networks around you unless you explicitly disable that as well

Re:does airplane mode prevent tower contact? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a month ago | (#47754583)

I think you are not understanding what powering down means.

powering down means it's powered down, not that the screen is off and it's in powersave - and in that powersave mode you can choose if you want to look for wifi networks.

of course when it's really off, you can't receive any calls either - because it is off and not in contact with the network.

airplane mode/powering it off cuts it off from talking to the network - unless someone messed quite extensively with your phone to the point of adding extra hardware...

Burners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47748929)

If anonymity with a cell phone was important you'd be spending that subscription fee on a new burner every week.

Re:Burners (1)

m00sh (2538182) | about a month ago | (#47749193)

If anonymity with a cell phone was important you'd be spending that subscription fee on a new burner every week.

Don't they do this with SIM cards? You buy a SIM card with x number of minutes with cash and then burn it in a week and pop in another one.

Or leave the phone at home but have it call you in your new sim and relay the call.

Re:Burners (2)

digsbo (1292334) | about a month ago | (#47749329)

There are trackable numbers for the SIM AND the phone itself. I believe it was IMEI in GSM phones. It's been a few years since I was in telecom, but I'm sure UMTS has something analogous.

Re:Burners (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a month ago | (#47752691)

Dont unpack and test your new phone near your everyday phone. If it is your home, hotel room or work, every phone that is was normally in the area is now of interest due to that one time test activation. Numbers called, callers and voice prints will find that new interesting phone later and allow a gov/mil to work back.
If that does not work, just map an area where tow phones walk towards each other and turn/power off and turn on again walking away from each other.
Any phone is a risk.

There's a bright side (0)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a month ago | (#47748951)

We can also spy on tin-pot dictators and their minions*, both foreign and domestic.

*oh wait, that would be us!

Hi cold fjord! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47748957)

Sorry, your attempt to rouse rabble has failed, we all know slashdot is a bastion of liberal scumsuckers who don't give a damn if ISIS buys software to let them know where you are and make sure you are bowing in the correct direction at designated times.

Re:Hi cold fjord! (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about a month ago | (#47749195)

Riiiiiight. As we all know, liberals are the prime supporters of religious nutjobs.

Yeah. Makes lots of sense.

Re:Hi cold fjord! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47749653)

Dammit, I went trolling for cold fjord and some old boot got caught in the line. Now I'll have to throw the boot back and try new bait.

Re:Hi cold fjord! (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about three weeks ago | (#47794119)

If you substitute "progressive" for Liberals you might be on to something.

It's Official: Leftist-Islamist Alliance against the West [americanthinker.com]
RADICAL ISLAM'S ALLIANCE WITH THE SOCIALIST LEFT [discoverthenetworks.org]
The Leftist-Islamist Alliance in Pictures [danielpipes.org]

Re:Hi cold fjord! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about three weeks ago | (#47794269)

Funny. Not three quarters of a century ago, it was the big marxist-judaist conspiracy that was going to bring the world to its knees with war and strife. Today it's the marxist-islamist conspiracy.

My money is still going to be on the nationalists again when it comes to the reason for war. Then again, once the bombs fall it doesn't really matter anymore who is right.

Only who is left.

HLR lookup? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47748973)

Hardly out of reach to someone with a few bucks to use a HLR lookup service, and you don't need dictator level cash to get ss7 network access!

Re:HLR lookup? (1)

mars-nl (2777323) | about a month ago | (#47752659)

Actually, how do you get ss7 network access?

Wow. Now if only.... (2)

TheRealSteveDallas (2505582) | about a month ago | (#47748977)

I just could have that super-spy technology be responsible for one long running phone conversation that did not contain the following: "Hello? Are you still there? Crap. Gone again."

Of course (2)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | about a month ago | (#47749001)

There are no such thing as privacy as long as you have a cell phone, use a credit card, drive a car with a license plate, anything related to a internet connection, your face visible in public places for cameras to track.
Hardly a surprise anymore.

Re:Of course (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about a month ago | (#47753495)

The way I use my smart phone like means the opposite. The phone can take messages, hence using it in burst seems the most convenient way to use it. Left in one room of the house and only picking it up to check for messages and making a burst of calls, as I wander around and then putting it back down. Sometimes taking it with me and sometimes not but definitely not always taking it with me. So consider that phone in your pocket a stranger and don't expose anything to it you wouldn't expose to a stranger.

That has been possible from the start of GSM (3, Informative)

ei4anb (625481) | about a month ago | (#47749039)

When I read about such techniques in a presentation from the 25C3 conference in 2008 it was not news to me even then. http://events.ccc.de/congress/... [events.ccc.de]

Re:That has been possible from the start of GSM (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a month ago | (#47752705)

The UK made sure a kind of early tracking tech was ready for cell phones as a standard due to experiences in Ireland back in the day. Not unexpected news back then, a strange story to make Slashdot in 2014.

Watch Back (2)

ewieling (90662) | about a month ago | (#47749049)

"Any tin-pot dictator with enough money to buy the system could spy on people anywhere in the world," said Eric King

Any tin-pot dictator or any person with enough money.
Governments love that surveillance technology is getting cheaper and cheaper. What they fail to understand is the same technologies are getting cheaper and cheaper for *everyone*. Mobile phone videos of police, customer service call recordings, etc are already starting to make a difference. There isn't much we can do to stop government surveillance, the best we can hope for is being able to surveil back at them.

Re:Watch Back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47749245)

My dream is that we soon have a cheap/free hack that allows citizen/voters to track the location of congress critters, tin-pot Presidents, and government officials (read NSA, CIA, FBI, Diane Feinstein). Our only hope for freedom is an even playing field. They will make such tracking illegal for public consumption because espionage is illegal in every country, unless you happen to be a cell phone provider.

Re:Watch Back (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a month ago | (#47749951)

There isn't much we can do to stop government surveillance, the best we can hope for is being able to surveil back at them.

After 9/11, State/local governments began to understand that police communications were a hodge podge of frequencies.
Since then, there's been a slow, but concerted, push to move all State/local police to a more coherent system.

Unfortunately, many police forces are upgrading to encrypted systems at the same time.
We will never really be able to surveil "them" to the same extent as they can surveil us, if for no other reason than they'll make it illegal.

Re:Watch Back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47752497)

The law is irrelevant. Watergate, Iran-Contra, Snowden/Clapper, the list is endless. All your communications are belong to us.

Re:Watch Back (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a month ago | (#47752735)

Also even if your phone cant get a good gps, it might get a location for other phones that can, in the area on the same networks.
Global Wi-Fi, cell-id location databases, ambient signals, visitors use gets a gov/mil some nice indoor positioning.

This is new? (2)

Pro923 (1447307) | about a month ago | (#47749085)

Why is this groundbreaking - when the government can just force the cell phone company to hand over this information at will? And it's free that way. I found it amusing during the Aaron Hernandez case, when they came up with detailed information of his whereabouts - to the second - after the fact that he was suspected of murdering someone.

OMFG!!!!!! (2)

OzPeter (195038) | about a month ago | (#47749379)

I'm shocked.

Who knew that a system that lets you receive a phone call anywhere in the world can be used to tell where in the world you actually are??????

Re:OMFG!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47749763)

Osama bin Laden didn't until the NYT told him his phone could be tracked. Cold fjord is a traitor just like Edward Snowden for tipping off all the other terrorists who thought they were safe.

Track Yourself on Android Here (3, Informative)

retroworks (652802) | about a month ago | (#47749403)

Here is a website where you can see how your android phone tracks your movement. You have to be logged in, which means it's about as private as a gmail account, however private that is. Tracked me in Europe last month, where I only used the wifi and GPS (but drew point-to-point crow flies lines, as compared to USA highway lines) https://maps.google.com/locati... [google.com]

Why is this a surprise to anyone here? (1)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about a month ago | (#47749815)

Supposedly, this is a technology oriented site. All it takes is to put 2 and 2 together and get 4 to know that cell phones can be tracked and are tracked.

Using geolocation for fun and profit (1)

davide marney (231845) | about a month ago | (#47750235)

That eeevil corporations and government can track my phone is of course, no surprise. However, how easy would it be to fool such systems, and make them think they're tracking me, when in fact they are tracking someone else, I wonder?

But technology is good? (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about a month ago | (#47750467)

But technology is good?

No duh. (1)

Ajax4Hire (800732) | about a month ago | (#47750719)

No duh.
The communication device in your pocket is a TWO-WAY radio.

If you want to be able to talk to the world, expect the world know where you are so the world can listen.
Of course the cell phone provider knows where you are; they have to literally beam a signal to you.
So, no duh they know where you are, they have to.

Re:No duh. (1)

mars-nl (2777323) | about a month ago | (#47752683)

Yes, my telco is supposed to know. But they should be the *only* ones to know. And it seems this is not the case. Far from it.

Re:No duh. (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a month ago | (#47752741)

Back to use once number pads, face to face and number stations. Takes a bit longer.

Location services (1)

Beerdood (1451859) | about a month ago | (#47752057)

But I'm safe if I disable location services on my iPhone right?

Re:Location services (1)

mars-nl (2777323) | about a month ago | (#47752699)

I don't think you get it. This has nothing to do with your phone. It's the phone network that keeps track of where you are. Your phone does not need GPS. It just needs to be on. Now it seems that other people, besides your network operator, are able to query the network for your location by just knowing your phone number. And those people are not necessarily your friends.

Bring on the tracking!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47752887)

It swings both ways. If they want to track my every move via a cell phone then I'll use it as an alibi when I go out and commit crime then tell them I was home the whole time because I purposely left my phone on the kitchen counter.

Re:Bring on the tracking!!! (1)

russotto (537200) | about a month ago | (#47753213)

It swings both ways. If they want to track my every move via a cell phone then I'll use it as an alibi when I go out and commit crime then tell them I was home the whole time because I purposely left my phone on the kitchen counter.

Nice idea, but you also have to deal with license plate recognition, EZ-Pass, tire RFID, shoe RFID, facial recognition, and the like.

Re:Bring on the tracking!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47753589)

and that pesky microchip that makes the back of my neck itch.

News????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47763795)

What kind of bullsh*t article is this? This would have been news in 1997.
To the article writer: You know which governments have this ability? All of them do. Not all of them pay for a service, but the providers still collect the data. When push comes to shove the governments can either buy the data or force the company to give it up (in an extortion deal threatening to cutt off the company from its users). This capablity is pretty non-news by todays standards.

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