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Tracking Your Cell Phone for Traffic Reports

CowboyNeal posted about 8 years ago | from the experiencing-high-call-volume dept.


BostonBTS writes "IntelliOne Technologies has just launched a real-world test of Need4Speed, a real-time traffic-monitoring system that tracks drivers' cell phones. From their website: 'Unlike any other solution available today, the IntelliOne Roadway Speed Measurement System produces live roadway speeds for all highways and surface streets where mobile phone coverage exists, accurate to within three miles per hour.' Of course, any compulsory phone-tracking system raises privacy concerns. According to an article on LiveScience, 'the personal identification data of users will be stripped from cell phone signals before they are processed by IntelliOne's software.' The cell phone companies have this data, but IntelliOne says they won't be keeping their copy."

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Privacy Concerns (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15885647)

'the personal identification data of users will be stripped from cell phone signals before they are processed by IntelliOne's software.'

Yes... and only their 10 digit user id/phone number will be left behind.. no names...
Oh wait... sorry... wrong company

Expressions of Genre (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15885687)

"Culture is intrinsically impossible," says Lyotard; however, according to Tilton[1] , it is not so much culture that is intrinsically impossible, but rather the meaninglessness, and subsequent paradigm, of culture. Therefore, Lacan promotes the use of dialectic situationism to deconstruct hierarchy. The primary theme of constructivist paradigm of context is the defining characteristic of neodialectic sexual identity. The characteristic theme of the works of Rushdie is the role of the artist as writer. Thus we have to choose between socialist realism and the materialist paradigm of expression. The subject is interpolated into a neomaterialist capitalism that includes reality as a paradox. But the main theme of socialist realism is a mythopoetical reality. I suggest the use of the constructivist paradigm of context to analyse truth. Therefore we should use the term 'cultural neoconstructive theory' to denote the role of the artist as reader. If socialist realism holds, the works of Ahmadinejad are postmodern. However, the subject is contextualised into a dialectic paradigm of context that includes narrativity as a paradox.

We have something similar in the UK... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | about 8 years ago | (#15887379)

... but it reads parts of number plates. It's called Trafficmaster. For readers in the UK who don't already know, these are the blue cameras that look like the RADAR unit on top of a traffic light, only bigger. It contains a doppler speed detector and a camera that reads the middle digits of a number plate - deliberately designed to be unable to read the full plate. Data from this is sent by PACNet to a control station, that then pages out to receivers which each pick up two capcodes. This is then broken down into the appropriate messages.

It's pretty clever stuff, and can tell the average and instantaneous speed of vehicles travelling on a stretch of road. If it sees some cars go into a section, it times them coming out. Although it's more than possible for two similar number plates to be passed through, particularly in the same area (imagine if you had two cars, registered SY06ADG and SY06ADH - they'd both appear as "06AD"), it takes an average of all the vehicles. So if your car appears - 06AD - and mine comes through a moment later at roughly the right speed - here comes 90ET - then it guesses they must be the same two they saw going in. The system expects that the speed through that section is around 70mph, so when 68BA takes a bit longer to come through, as does 29TG, the road must be getting slower. Once it goes below something like 25mph it pages out a message to Trafficmaster users warning them of slow traffic ahead.

Now all they need (3, Interesting)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 8 years ago | (#15885655)

They need maping software and route planning software that will give you a nifty detour around the latest car wreck. This has been discussed in other Slashdot conversations anyway.

Re:Now all they need (2, Interesting)

garcia (6573) | about 8 years ago | (#15885693)

Route planning software doesn't need to have maps. In fact, using my Garmin GPSMap 76CS I routinely leave it on the text directions rather than the map screen because I like to know a couple steps ahead of what the map shows me (especially for city driving).

If they were going to re-route people they could send a couple of SMSs (or the entire message if you have a decent cell phone that merges "large" SMSs into one) with the text directions of where they need to go.

That way it might be worth the privacy implications to some. For me? I'll stick to my autorouting handheld GPS.

Anonymous? Rrrrrriiigggghhhhtttt (1)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | about 8 years ago | (#15885783)

Who needs Soviet-style internal passports when they can not only GPS-track your cell phone, but can also track how fast you are moving. Here comes version 2.0: it automatically calls the police and tells them approximately where they will need to be to catch you based on your current speed and direction!

Re:Now all they need (4, Informative)

stox (131684) | about 8 years ago | (#15885895)

They have had this for some time. it is called TMC (Traffic Message Channel), which is uses RDS (Radio Data Service) to send messages to the navigation unit. Garmin has units that support it, and I am sure there are others.

Re:Now all they need (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15886318)

Before God spoke to me, I was writing philosophical papers on peace.

No offense intended, but if you cannot see the gaping holes in the account you give of "touching god", then you have no business writing philosophical papers on anything. A philosopher wouldn't write anything even close to what you have.

Re:Now all they need (1)

inca34 (954872) | about 8 years ago | (#15886372) [] In summary, cars talk to cars that talk to a wireless roadway infrastructure for traffic, road, safety conditions, etc. I am about to start working on this project, as it seems to be slowly making progress between all the contributors but suffers overall management issues... mainly from all the car companies trying to make it a subscription-only service and other such nonsense. Write your reps and let them know we need this sooner than later, and not as some jacked up add-on service.

Re:Now all they need (1)

freemywrld (821105) | about 8 years ago | (#15886817)

How long until come company gets hold of this and start analyzing driving habits and sending SMS ads to peoples' phones?

OTOH, when traveling, I can't say it wouldn't be nice if I received a TXT message letting me know to detour before getting stuck in a traffic jam as a result of an accident. But only at the user's request.

I also don't like the idea that I'm walking around with homing beacon in my pocket.

All your phone are belong to us.

A spokesperson explained (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15885667)

"We'll replace the customer's name with a sequential number for anonymous aggregation of location datastreams. We plan to release a sample of the anonymized data to the scientific community. You see, there is nothing to worry about."

Of course! (4, Insightful)

dotslashdot (694478) | about 8 years ago | (#15885668)

And of course, AOL won't be releasing your search terms, the NSA won't be listening to your phone conversations or tracking your surfing habits, private companies won't be stockpiling huge warehouses of data to give to the government and you can trust a president who choked and fell while eating a pretzel to check and balance himself.

Hi, my name is Pat Riot (4, Funny)

Travoltus (110240) | about 8 years ago | (#15885722)

I'm utterly appalled at the way you make fun of America's growing surveillance system. What's wrong with sacrificing privacy for safety? Your opposition to the free market usage of your personal information smacks of Godless communism. What do you have to hide? Aren't you aware that surveillance is needed to defend our constitution from our enemies? And please stop making fun of the good people at the NSA, they only have your best interests at heart.

[end neo con parody]

Re:Hi, my name is Pat Riot (1)

Infernal Device (865066) | about 8 years ago | (#15886392)

And they know who you are, travoltus, and you, dotslashdot.

DSD will be sent to Guantanamo for being an enemy noncombatant, having uttered demoralizing words against the corpocracy. Travoltus, will be sent to Guantanamo for being suspiciously patriotic.

I will, of course, be sent there for having revealed the truth about you two being sent there.

Anyone reading this comment will be sent there for reading classified information which, when you read it was declassified, however since new rules apply, well ...

Oh, man, I just depressed myself.

Re:Hi, my name is Pat Riot (1)

golgoj4 (993133) | about 8 years ago | (#15886653)

sweet! I need a vacation. I guess since i used to work with bombs they have more reason to send me there? It was a US Navy Training camp. noooooooO!

Re:Of course! (1)

chasisaac (893152) | about 8 years ago | (#15886124)

I was thinking the exact same.

Tracking Your Cell Phone for Traffic Reports (2, Insightful)

Gendo420 (656068) | about 8 years ago | (#15885669)

they say they won't keep it, but come on, they will still have all the numbers cataloged somewhere.

Re:Tracking Your Cell Phone for Traffic Reports (2, Insightful)

Travoltus (110240) | about 8 years ago | (#15885729)

Yes, they'll keep it on file in the name of:
1) the war on terror
2) tracking deadbeat dads
3) think of the childr-er, the insurance companies!

Not saved in their copy (1)

nickheart (557603) | about 8 years ago | (#15885679)

Just like you can "delete" mail from you gmail accont. you can't see it anymore!

Oh yeah, like it's going to be anonymous (5, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | about 8 years ago | (#15885686)

Who needs Soviet-style internal passports when they can not only GPS-track your cell phone, but can also track how fast you are moving. Here comes version 2.0: it automatically calls the police and tells them approximately where they will need to be to catch you based on your current speed and direction!

Re:Oh yeah, like it's going to be anonymous (3, Insightful)

trolleymusic (938183) | about 8 years ago | (#15885699)

Or the police send you an SMS speeding ticket!

Re:Oh yeah, like it's going to be anonymous (1)

radiotyler (819474) | about 8 years ago | (#15885874)

What happens when you road rage and whip it out the window? They text message your ticket to... no-one?

I only bring this up due to the dent in my buddies car from a cell phone road rage incident.

Re:Oh yeah, like it's going to be anonymous (1)

akreps (39546) | about 8 years ago | (#15885707)

It's news like this that makes me glad my cell phone still has an off button.

Re:Oh yeah, like it's going to be anonymous (5, Interesting)

Kesch (943326) | about 8 years ago | (#15885725)

Most cellphones have a few back doors, being OFF isn't always good enough. To truly make sure that your cell phone is inert, you have to remove the battery. (And I do have to do this now and then to conform with security policies involving cell phones and secure areas at my worksite.)

Re:Oh yeah, like it's going to be anonymous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15887615)

I worked in the mobile telecom industry for years; unfortunately not in the business of phone/handheld devices. Can you actually confirm brands/types of phones which are sending/receiving radio signales while being turned off ? I find it very very hard to believe there are phones which can be not turned 'off' with 'off' option. Your security policies aren't based on facts but being 'overly protecting'.

Re:Oh yeah, like it's going to be anonymous (1)

Catbeller (118204) | about 8 years ago | (#15889457)

Again, the error of pretending the future won't happen. The phones may not have the feature of backdoor tracking while allegedly turned off -- right now -- but it's a twitch of a microprocessor to make it happen two years from now. After all, few knew that the US cell phone industry was told by BushCo and Congress to enable GPS tracking on all new cell phones by 2005. Hell, people were arguing with me about this on Slashdot only last year.

The US is in the grip of an Orwellian fear epidemic. There is no doubt in my mind that the phones will have backdoor tracking soon. And that cars will 1) have GPS tracking as a feature, and 2) it will become a mandatory feature within a couple of years after step 1 and 3) it will soon thereafter become illegal to interfere with the signal and 4) lastly, it will become illegal to operate a vehicle without a GPS tracker.

You boil the frog one degree at a time.

This is not GPS (1, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | about 8 years ago | (#15885747)

Hell, this isn't even about YOUR cell phone. It's about tower traffic. Could it be used by police to locate you? Sure, but it already is! They don't need stripped down traffic information to find out some child molester is heading north bound on hwy 78.

Is it possible for this system to be abused? Sure. Is it likely? Not really. The amount of data the company will be dealing with would make extended storage retarded. Most likely they'll be purging data as soon as the can convert it to summarized information for use in reporting and traffic trend spotting. A small amount of oversight would go a long way. Heck, they could even open source the code, in this case, the code is worthless with out the contracts with the cell providers, but at least the tech sector could take a look and feel more comfy knowing their driving habits are not being recorded.

The other huge boon to this is for the state. Imagine if you could see traffic trends by the minute covering trends over months. You could quickly identify dangerous traffic areas, distractions, traffic quirks, and all sorts of oddities that could be engineered around to reduce injuries, fatalities, and expenses.


Re:This is not GPS (4, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | about 8 years ago | (#15885860)

The other huge boon to this is for the state. Imagine if you could see traffic trends by the minute covering trends over months. You could quickly identify dangerous traffic areas, distractions, traffic quirks, and all sorts of oddities that could be engineered around to reduce injuries, fatalities, and expenses.

Well that's the best case, but I'd find it much more likely that the state would look for stretches of road where the average speed exceeds the speed limit, aka "areas of potential revenue and quota filling."

Re:This is not GPS (1)

jevvim (826181) | about 8 years ago | (#15885862)

they could even open source the code, in this case, the code is worthless with out the contracts with the cell providers

Except that the cell providers themesevles could then enter the market themselves and then undercut the service price of the company that developed the software. The phone companies are experts in this type of competition. After all, the phone company won't really be paying itself for the raw data, much like they don't really pay themselves for the wire pair that the use to provide your DSL service. I think you'd only need data from one "big" cell phone network to make the software work; I suspect that Sprint, Verizon, and at&t (Cigular) all have sufficiently large cell phone networks to work such a system on their own.

Re:This is not GPS (1)

RingDev (879105) | about 8 years ago | (#15885905)

"Except that the cell providers themesevles could then enter the market themselves and then undercut the service price of the company that developed the software."

Ahh the joys of patents, copyright, and licensing. Sure, they would need one hell of a legal team to squash anyone who may have so much as glanced at their code with the intent in making a competetive package, but again, the money is in the contract, not the software.


Re:This is not GPS (1)

radiotyler (819474) | about 8 years ago | (#15885922)

I was living in Georgia years ago and had a pre-paid cell phone. I was at a car dealership wrapping up my car purchase when I looked across the street into the "mobile residence" and saw a dude DRAGGING HIS WIFE OUT OF THE TRAILER BY HER HAIR! I called 9-1-1 and told the operator what was happening, the guy I was buying the car from was inside signing the title and I didn't know the address, only the street. The operator told me no problem, they were able to tell by my phone. I was shocked.

On a good note, the police actually showed up at a timely manner before I'd crossed the street to confront the dude. Considering the area though, I'm not so surprised at the speed of their arrival.

So: it's been done.

Now feel free to start with the Georgia / hick / trailer park jokes.

Re:This is not GPS (1)

RingDev (879105) | about 8 years ago | (#15887004)

Correct, for the most part, all recent cell phones will by default send GPS data to dispatch when you call 911.


Re:Oh yeah, like it's going to be anonymous (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 8 years ago | (#15885802)

Easy. When you want to go on a 185mph run, just pull the battery and/or antenna. Problem solved.

Re:Oh yeah, like it's going to be anonymous (1)

Kazymyr (190114) | about 8 years ago | (#15885854)

And if you're still not sure, put a bullet through it.

Re:Oh yeah, like it's going to be anonymous (2, Funny)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | about 8 years ago | (#15885863)

I think the only way to be safe is nuke it from orbit.

Re:Oh yeah, like it's going to be anonymous (2, Insightful)

StikyPad (445176) | about 8 years ago | (#15885868)

If you can afford a car that does 185, a speeding ticket probably isn't something you're particularly worried about.

Re:Oh yeah, like it's going to be anonymous (2, Insightful)

WilliamSChips (793741) | about 8 years ago | (#15886023)

That works right now, but eventually this shit will be built into the car. Pull it out and the car won't start. Use a car that doesn't work like that and get a fine. Oh, and don't forget the forced obsolescence.

Re:Oh yeah, like it's going to be anonymous (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 8 years ago | (#15887677)

Who needs Soviet-style internal passports when they can not only GPS-track your cell phone, but can also track how fast you are moving.

You couldn't turn-off your "Soviet-style internal passports" whenever you felt like it, and they certainly weren't opt-in (this is just one more reason to trash your cellphone).

Ridiculous paranoid extremism is just as bad as (the more common) public apathy.

Wanna build something similar with open source? (2, Interesting)

BrewerDude (716509) | about 8 years ago | (#15885688)

There's an interesting project called Place Lab [] that is building a database of, among other things, cell tower ID to physical location mappings. Their goal is to allow you to "[provide] low-cost, easy-to-use device positioning for location-enhanced computing applications."

Now, they don't have all the data that these guys have, since they just sample the tower that your phone currently happens to be talking to, so you may not be able to get accurate short-term speed readings, but I bet a lot of you could think of fun things to do with it!

Disclaimer: I'm not in any way associated with Place Lab, but I'm considering using it for some LBS experiments and would love to see as many people contributing to their database as possible. :)

paper weight (2, Funny)

demonbug (309515) | about 8 years ago | (#15885691)

This is why I always keep my cell phone in a lead box.

Re:paper weight (2, Funny)

Kesch (943326) | about 8 years ago | (#15885760)

Aha! You have just given me an idea to make billions. I will sell a lead cell phone enclosure fashioned like an old bulky 1980's cell phone. I will then start a big FUD campaign to make people afraid of a transmitting cellphone.

The doubleplusgood combination retro-style and cellular safety will have millions of sheeple clamoring to buy a Cell-be-safe signal blocking case.

Oh shit, I just said this out loud didn't I?

Oh well, first one to the patent office wins. Runner up might be able patent doing it on the internet.

Re:paper weight (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 8 years ago | (#15885819)

This is why I always keep my cell phone in a lead box.

A lead box? I hadn't realized that they were selling atomic-powered cell phones.

Re:paper weight (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 8 years ago | (#15885939)

Lightweight. This is why I don't have a cell phone at all.

Re:paper weight (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15885942)

Not sure why the parent is presently modded funny. I have mine in an aluminum (machined) and iron (cast) box (actually, 2 boxes) (it's likely the aluminum isn't doing much).

It's none of the government/cell phone/database's damn business where I am. There's also the whole law enforcement a la Miranda--anything could be used/construed against you. I don't need to pass through an area at the approximate time said accident or crime occurred, then get questioned that I was the cause of said crime/accident because someone decided to go cell phone tower searching.

People may label this as paranoid, but to me, anecdotally from personal past experience and "eyewitness" reports, it's not. I've already had crap complaints while walking in the city and separately driving once that I don't need someone searching databases to find a target or an excuse so that they can drop their case load or pad their prosecutorial resume. All someone has to do is see how the law treats speedometer readings by law enforcement, which overrides prima facie, your speedometer, while same said equipment can be used to criminalize your behavior (see auto black boxes).

Systematic error in the speed (2, Funny)

wbean (222522) | about 8 years ago | (#15885697)

My bet is that they will find that they have a systematic error in the traffic speed. The cell phone users are driving more slowly than the rest of the cars. Might help to predict accidents, though.

Re:Systematic error in the speed (1)

MbM (7065) | about 8 years ago | (#15885750)

Maybe they should report the cellphones currently in use as potential accident zones.

Re:Systematic error in the speed (1)

aussie_a (778472) | about 8 years ago | (#15887384)

I know every time my girlfriend uses the cell phone in the passenger seat it makes me nearly have an accident.

What "rest"? (2, Insightful)

Poromenos1 (830658) | about 8 years ago | (#15885834)

The rest of the cars? Here in Greece, at least, everyone has at least one cellphone. I literally do not know anyone over 15 years old that doesn't have a cellphone. Except grandpa.

Re:Systematic error in the speed (1)

StikyPad (445176) | about 8 years ago | (#15885883)

It's not that they're driving more slowly, it's just that they don't drive in straight lines [] , so it takes them a little longer to get there.

Warning Calls (1)

nick_davison (217681) | about 8 years ago | (#15885979)

Given that it'll probably be something like:

Cell1 is infront of Cell2 by about 50 yards.

Cell1: 50mph Cell2: 50mph
Cell1: 40mph Cell2: 50mph
Cell1: 30mph Cell2: 50mph
Cell1: 20mph Cell2: 50mph
Cell1: 10mph Cell2: 50mph
Cell1: 00mph Cell2: 50mph
Cell2: 00mph Cell1: involuntarily 10mph

Can I have a special warning ring tone for when the idiot behind me is on his/her cell and paying no attention whatsoever to my speed. One that I don't have to worry about picking up - just a ring tone that warns me I'll get hit if I don't adjust my speed to compensate for the moron.

A second warning tone for when I'm car 3 would be pretty nice too - to let me know that the moron driving an oversized SUV I can't see through is about to come to a sudden and crunchy stop so I may want to back further off than I would for a driver I'd assume knew how to brake properly. Yes, we should all drive far enough back that, with reaction times included, we can still come to a complete stop even if they had infinite deceleration but, in the real world, that's called "leaving a space for someone else to pull in to" and doesn't actually work.

Re:Warning Calls (1)

Phroggy (441) | about 8 years ago | (#15887574)

Yes, we should all drive far enough back that, with reaction times included, we can still come to a complete stop even if they had infinite deceleration but, in the real world, that's called "leaving a space for someone else to pull in to" and doesn't actually work.

It may vary by region, but here (Pacific Northwest) it actually does work. Most people will stay in their own lane. A few people will pull in front of you, in which case you just back off and let them in; it's not that many people and will only delay your arrival by a matter of seconds. If you're in the left lane and able to maintain a speed equal to or faster than the car to your right, the chances of someone pulling in front of you like that are smaller than you think (if the cars in the next lane wanted to go faster they'd be in the left lane already, and the cars behind you can't pull in front of you to cut you off because the cars in the next lane are going slower than you are).

Try it. It makes things much safer, faster, and more comfortable for everyone behind you, and only rarely pisses people off (who shouldn't be on the road anyway).

Works for me (1)

Draconnery (897781) | about 8 years ago | (#15889370)

For the most part, I agree. I almost always give myself enough space to stop, regardless of what the driver in front of me chooses to do, even as I cruise at around 78. (I say 'almost' because you just wouldn't believe me otherwise.) The few people who don't understand that I'm not going any slower than the car in front of me will try to get around me in foolish and dangerous ways, and it happens. My reaction is just slightly different from my parent's; I back off, add a friendly gesture (normally a sarcastic thumbs-up, but occasionally a different digit), and let them in. This doesn't really lead to road rage, since I then back off to a safe following distance, and the jackasses I flip off know they deserve it.

I drive plenty, and this keeps me clear of stupid drivers all over Michigan.

Re:Warning Calls (2, Interesting)

caluml (551744) | about 8 years ago | (#15888981)

I have access to my own phone's location data, and I (apart from doing all sort of other funky stuff with it) set up a system to measure my speed.
It didn't work well.
First, I could only poll it every 15 minutes. Secondly, cells overlap. Thirdly, it just gives you a triangulation based on which towers you can see.
So basically, on a drive to London along the M4, I stuck at exactly 70mph for the test, and it showed me doing everything from 59 to about 84, with one sector at 97. It's not accurate enough. Until the 3G phones come along.
And you can see where I am (or rather where my work phone is (which is on the desk next to me)) now on my homepage [] ....

Re:Warning Calls (1)

caluml (551744) | about 8 years ago | (#15889009)

Although it currently says I'm just off the coast of Somalia. [] ! I can sadly assure you that this is not true. That means I've done about 3000mph in the last few hours. Just send me the ticket, Wiggum.

Re:Systematic error in the speed (1)

Mr Z (6791) | about 8 years ago | (#15886927)

Cell phones retransmit periodically, and towers keep some level of estimate of where their subscribers are, whether they're talking or not. How do you think you can receive phone calls when tooling down the Interstate at 70MPH? If you don't believe me, put your cell phone next to an amplified speaker some time. Every so often you'll hear a "bipida bipida bipida," or some other pattern, depending on what standard your carrier runs.

When you're stationary, such events are widely spaced. But, when your phone detects that it can't "hear" the tower, it'll try to hop over to a neighboring tower. Just examining hand-off patterns for idle phones along interstates should give you a reasonable estimate of overall speed when averaged over a large number of samples.


A rational thought (1)

Kesch (943326) | about 8 years ago | (#15885705)

Tinfoil hat thoughts aside, this seems really cool. For general purposes you can get average roadway speed data for any segment of pavement with cell phone reception and cell-toting drivers on it. They also include an opt-in service where they will keep the personal info attatched so to bprovide a tracking service.(There are valid uses for this!)

Personally, I look at this as a nice benefit of data mining techniques.

Tickets for all (2, Interesting)

Jthon (595383) | about 8 years ago | (#15885719)

If this is really accurate to 3mph I can imagine police in the future just mailing tickets to people based on cellphone data. It's annoying enough as some places are installing cameras/radar sensors to just mail you speeding tickets.

Can you imagine if anytime you happen to go above the speedlimit in cell range you get a ticket? Everyone will be driving 5 miles under the speed limit all the time to "protect" themselves. I can also see this being used by insurance companies to increase rates on people who tend to speed.

On the plus side there might be some advantage to driving with the cell off with this technology. It might become the only way to get away with speeding. At least some people will get off the phone and pay attention while driving.

Re:Tickets for all (2, Interesting)

antagonizt (613384) | about 8 years ago | (#15885828)

Not going to happen... I, for example, carpool and would fight a ticket issued because my carpool leader was speeding. There is no way to distinguish between driver and passenger.

Re:Tickets for all (1)

aussie_a (778472) | about 8 years ago | (#15887391)

You would do the exact same thing you currently do when you lend someone your car and they decide to go speeding and get caught.

Re:Tickets for all (1)

shinnie (989745) | about 8 years ago | (#15888745)

Happens in Winnipeg, MB right now. Vechile gets caught speeding by a camera. Registered owner gets 167.00 speeding ticket for going 13 km/h ( about 8 miles/h ) over the speed limit.

Re:Tickets for all (1)

TheGavster (774657) | about 8 years ago | (#15885840)

My question is when the records from this sort of tracking on police/government vehicles will be published in the newspaper. If I had to bet money on the statie blowing by at 80 every morning, I'd say "donuts" rather than "child molesters" as the object at the end of the highway.

Re:Tickets for all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15886145)

The correct solution to this problem is to fix the speed limits, not worry about some silly speed tracking technology. In an ideal world, 85% of people WOULD be driving 5mph below the limit, and that would be fast enough. Think 80-85 during the day on most freeways.

The only reason current limits are so low is to please misguided "safety" folks and to pad the coffers of local police departments.

Re:Tickets for all (1)

fbjon (692006) | about 8 years ago | (#15887537)

Increasing spee limits with, say, 10, would do almost nothing to how fast you get to your destination (those three minutes you save are totally irrelevant) except on very long trips, while at the same time drastically increasing damage, injury, and chance of fatality in the event of an accident.

Re:Tickets for all (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 8 years ago | (#15888038)

Increasing spee limits with, say, 10, would do almost nothing to how fast you get to your destination (those three minutes you save are totally irrelevant) except on very long trips, while at the same time drastically increasing damage, injury, and chance of fatality in the event of an accident.

And if I choose to take the risk of damage/injury or death that's my right. The interstate highways were designed with 75-85mph in mind. Why are most of them posted 55-65? Could it be a revenue source perhaps?

Another rant of mine is when the cops blow past me doing 85mph themselves without their lights on. Am I the only one that thinks they should have to obey all traffic laws unless actually responding to a call/chasing someone? Want to amuse yourself? Get in the left lane right next to Grandma in the right lane doing the speed limit and sit there when the cop illegally tailgates you trying to force you to move over so he can resume his 85mph trek. I held a NYS State Trooper behind me for 15 minutes doing this once. Had he been anybody else he probably would have gotten a ticket for following too closely.

When law enforcement/local judges/local politicians start obeying the speed limit then I'll consider doing so as well. I don't care that you are an off duty trooper or that you have Assemblyman's plates. Obey the law if you expect the rest of us to do so.

Re:Tickets for all (0, Troll)

seann (307009) | about 8 years ago | (#15888083)

hey cunt face, put away that NEED FOR SPEED.

"damage/injury or death that's my right."
You have no right to cause damage or injury to anyone else on the highway.

Re:Tickets for all (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 8 years ago | (#15888284)

You have no right to cause damage or injury to anyone else on the highway.

And you can prove that my driving at the speed the highway was designed for is going to cause injury or damage? To others that made the informed choice to use a controled access highway?

Oh wait, your just a troll. N/m then.

Re:Tickets for all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15887129)

i'll just keep my cell phone in a farady cage, disconnect it from the network until i want to make a call and put it back when i'm done. i'll let them track me when i bloody feel like letting them track me.

"PI will be stripped" (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 8 years ago | (#15885728)

Ya, sure. We heard that one before. Tell us another fairy tale.

All your velocity are belong to us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15885765)

In Capitalist America, the phone company 0wns YOU!

Re:All your velocity are belong to us (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15886015)

In Soviet America, government owns you.

This should be an opt-in thing (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 8 years ago | (#15885780)

Your location is your business. Anyone who uses this information, even stripped of your name, should ask first and maybe even pay you compensation.

Re:This should be an opt-in thing (1)

aussie_a (778472) | about 8 years ago | (#15887398)

It is opt-in. You opt-in when you buy a mobile. You opt-in when you go with this particular company. If you are already with the company on a contract, I'd be ringing up their customer support to cancel the contract (at no charge for you of course. And I'd fight them until they gave me what I want. I've found most of the time they'll cave in relatively quickly, if you survive the automated phone system coupled with call waiting. And always remember to ask for their name before you start talking).

This shouldn't work on single occupant vehicles (2, Insightful)

pjwhite (18503) | about 8 years ago | (#15885809)

This shouldn't work on single occupant vehicles, since drivers should have their phones turned off at all times on the road for safety.

But I'm sure it will work anyway because enough drivers will ignore safety concerns and leave their phones turned on to allow good coverage.

Re:This shouldn't work on single occupant vehicles (1)

knifey (976510) | about 8 years ago | (#15885917)

What planet are you on?
Since when does having a phone turned on, but not in use, constitute a safety issue?

Using a phone (hell, talking to the passenger, eating, pretty much anything) diverts your concentration and possibly your hands, and thus represents a danger as far as that goes. In some estimates it's as bad or worse than being drunk. However, I can see no reason having a phone turned on is going to cause this sort of trouble.

Re:This shouldn't work on single occupant vehicles (2, Insightful)

pjwhite (18503) | about 8 years ago | (#15886059)

Having the phone turned on means that it is likely to ring, distracting the driver.
Then, answering the phone involves fumbling for it, looking at the caller ID, finding the right button to press in order to answer it, etc. Talking on the phone while driving has been discussed at length in other forums and I won't go into it here, but let's just say that I (and many others) agree that it's a Bad Idea.

Re:This shouldn't work on single occupant vehicles (1)

knifey (976510) | about 8 years ago | (#15886314)

I agree that talking on the phone (also fumbling for it, checking CID etc) are bad. But drivers need to put driving first, and that means not answering the stupid thing when you're driving. You don't need to turn it off for that.
Too any people seem to think that phones demand attention. A ring is a request, nothing more. Anyone who's been "on-call" should have worked that out. :-)

Re:This shouldn't work on single occupant vehicles (1)

aussie_a (778472) | about 8 years ago | (#15887410)

There's a fabulous invention called hands free.

Although I agree that the majority of people having their phone turned on while driving without a passenger won't have a hands free phone.

Don't worry about law enforcement using this data. (0, Troll)

Jerk City Troll (661616) | about 8 years ago | (#15885824)

I know an IT guy in a small city police department. Trust me on this police don't want to share data with anyone and what data the police collects you can pay $10 for copy of the report. Why don't police want to share data? Because they collect "intel" data and some of the people in there may have done nothing wrong. Take gangs. If a gang member is arrested, they like to try to link together gang members. Well, just because you are a gang member or linked to a gang member doesn't mean that you've done anything wrong. I've been amazed at how little the police can legally share with each other. There are both state and federal laws limiting the "intel" information. I think the rule of thumb is that you can generally share your data among your department, but you generally can't share intel information farther than that. If you wand some potentially scary stuff, look up N-DEx fuseaction=display_arch&article_id=908&issue_id=62 006 [] . NIBRS is about all the feds care about and it's all just crime stats.

There is a policeman that I work with. I tell him routinely, that I think that the feds should be the final resting place for every report that they write and everything should be stored by them. In car dash cameras should be attached to police reports and submitted up to the Feds and stored both to cover the individual policeman's butt, and incase anyone else in the nation wanted to compare video. I'd want that one automated though. Heck, there isn't even a "national" standard for finger prints. Each state has its own system and doesn't look outside of its system.

It's amazing how well the police do their jobs with the tools that they have.

The end total of the IT that I'd like to give to my cops would be a virtual police state. I really drooled over the traffic cameras that London could afford. We'd never be able to spend like that though. Heck, there was an article on /. a few days ago about a camera searching every passing car and doing NCIC lookups to see if there were any hits. I think that every city should have one of those systems for each of their major transportation hubs. Humans can't catch much, but with a system like that, if an auto is in the system as stolen, then a police person can atleast be alerted and stop the car that he would have otherwise missed.

That device was something like $25-$30K. For my department to afford it, we'd need a grant to cover it. We could purchase something around $4-$5K, but not something for $25-30K. There are alot of neat police tools that I'd like our department to have access to, but each one is priced around $25-30K and we don't have that much to spend.

We looked last year and replacing our analog cameras and VCRs to the digital cameras with lowlight and storing them on 4 GB flash cards and wirelessly transmit. We were going to setup 5 cars with plans of upgrading our entire fleet of 25 units, but it was going to cost about $65K for the inital 5 cars and setting up the backbone system. The night vision on that system was sweet. I wish our department had it. One other nice feature was that it was always recording/buffering and whenever the officer did one of several things it would automatically start recording/saving a segment. It did GPS and showed the officer's mph.

We don't have AVL in our fleet, but we've discusseed it, but it keeps falling through. It all comes down to money.

Re:Don't worry about law enforcement using this da (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | about 8 years ago | (#15886075)

The end total of the IT that I'd like to give to my cops would be a virtual police state.

Why would you even consider this? Have you seen how they behave now?

Fly's Open (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 8 years ago | (#15885847)

Who cares what any of these corporations say about "protecting our privacy"? When was the last time anyone successfully sued a corporation for privacy policy violations?

When will my mobile phone encrypt everything it transmits? Privacy violation over wires was bad enough, but broadcasting traffic over the air is begging for trouble, even if practically no one realizes it.

Solution for getting tracked: (2, Funny)

failure-man (870605) | about 8 years ago | (#15885899)

What if we took matters into our own hands by all getting HAM radio sets and patching through an encrypted stream? It could be like, the geek's anonymous communication system for the postmodern world.
The only way to track you would be to visually notice the HAM Radio license plates and two-meter antenna stuck to your hatchback. What could be less suspicious!

Re:Solution for getting tracked: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15886077)

It's illegal to encrypt on the HAM bands. They thought of that one a long time ago.

TROLL: GNAA Announces Immediate Release of OSX_x86 (-1, Offtopic)

Jerk City Troll (661616) | about 8 years ago | (#15885902)

GNAA Announces Immediate Release of OSX_x86_YHBT

Ich Bindawalross (London) - GNAA (NYSE: GNAA [] ) President timecop released a statement today regarding the immediate Internet release of MacOS X for the x86 architecture, available on many BitTorrent networks. After making the statement, timecop yielded the stage to a second speaker at the press conference, Apple Computer co-Founder and CEO, Steve "Rim" Jobs, now fully recovered from his recent gender reassignment surgery to field questions from attending press members.

"We here at Apple Computerth [sic] have decided on a slightly different path for the upcoming version of the MacOS X," Jobs states before bursting out into high pitched giggles. "We have replaced our overpriced and bloated software with an efficient and easy-to-use interface. I would like to take this opportunity to announce a merger larger than a Zimbabwe nigger cock: GNAA and Apple Computer."

Returning to the podium, timecop began speaking again, while Steve Jobs submitted to orally pleasuring his ten inch nigger cock. "Dedicated faggots have been loyally purchasing the homosexual software and hardware abomination that is Macintosh computers. Apple has been striving to provide software customers with the most flambouyantly homosexual combination available. However, in recent days, this hasn't been enough.

"There has been increasing pressure from the disgustingly obese Lunix nerds and the socially well-adjusted and popular Windows users to convert, as well as pressure from OS X emulators to provide consumers with increasingly gay products. Apple Computer has decided to merge with GNAA in order to broaden the appeal and better serve the interests of all those who buy Macintosh products. Furthermore, we will adopt Apple's "Step 2 ???? PROFIT!" marketing model. This will also stop Apple from going out of business, which they probably would have otherwise."

At this point, timecop paused and deposited a quart of Gaynigger seed into Steve Jobs' mouth.

"GNAApple is committed to our new OS X86. Rather than give the user the difficulty of finding pornography themselves, we provide them with the classic hello.jpg, redundantly archived and brand labeled throughout the 950 MB DVD image, as well as a bundled copy of GPA (Gay Porn Avalanche). Now, greater efficiency in masturbatory pursuits can be provided to all."

"As Slashdot users, many of you might have been exposed to the pirated release, and information pertaining to it. We would like to thank Rob "CmdrCocko" Malda for running the first article, leading to the release of information about our upcoming merger. We would also like to extend our gratitude to and XiSO for helping us spread the release over the 'underground scene.' We thank you, the IRC channels who put it on their hacked .edu xdcc bots and fserves who hosted it on your dialup connections.

Steve Jobs, recovering from the large dosage of AIDS from the variety of syphilitic, festering sores of GNAA members, rose to his feet at this point during the press conference. "Our previous versions of OS X were released prematurely, and as a result the operating system was unstable and fragile. Our team of software engineers have also decided to abandon the weak and inefficient UNIX backside in favor of a more efficient and robust alternative: WinNT. The pirated version of our new operating system has had record acclaim from users of the Jewish-based internet news organization known as "Slashdot [] ".

"Those doubting the superiority of our new release need only read user testimonials."

"The Torrent going around as: Mac OS X Tiger X86 READNFO-XISO It's a complete fake. When the image is booted it shows a picture of a guy showing off his Bu** H**e." - Anon Coward

"if you unrar, burn, and boot like the .nfo file says, it just boots it to a very lovely goatse image. no joke, wasted two hours of my life and made a coaster out of some DVD+R media. HILARIOUS!" - BobVila

"Best. Trap. Ever." - saddino

"Aw crap, I thought you guys who said it was fake were just being fags. Opened up the first rar in my hex editor n after scrolling ,I too saw the "GNAAGNAAGNAA" *cries* I want Mac OS for my Pee-Ceeeeeeee." - Mark


"GNAA > me. Fristage Postage is theirs" - Pat Gunn

About Apple:

Apple Computer is the creator of the Macintosh, popularly known as the "gay computer". 87% of GNAA members are Mac users. Founded in 1974 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Apple was nearly out of business in the mid 90's, when Jobs was rehired. He then started the now infamous iGay marketing scheme which involved both the Step 2 ???? Profit model, and a 100% effort towards marketing towards homosexuals.

About GNAA:
GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) is the first organization which gathers GAY NIGGERS from all over America and abroad for one common goal - being GAY NIGGERS.

Are you GAY [] ?
Are you a NIGGER [] ?
Are you a GAY NIGGER [] ?

If you answered "Yes" to all of the above questions, then GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) might be exactly what you've been looking for!
Join GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) today, and enjoy all the benefits of being a full-time GNAA member.
GNAA (GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA) is the fastest-growing GAY NIGGER community with THOUSANDS of members all over United States of America and the World! You, too, can be a part of GNAA if you join today!

Why not? It's quick and easy - only 3 simple steps!
  • First, you have to obtain a copy of GAYNIGGERS FROM OUTER SPACE THE MOVIE [] and watch it. You can download the movie [] (~130mb) using BitTorrent.
  • Second, you need to succeed in posting a GNAA First Post [] on [] , a popular "news for trolls" website.
  • Third, you need to join the official GNAA irc channel #GNAA on, and apply for membership.
Talk to one of the ops or any of the other members in the channel to sign up today! Upon submitting your application, you will be required to submit links to your successful First Post, and you will be tested on your knowledge of GAYNIGGERS FROM OUTER SPACE.

If you are having trouble locating #GNAA, the official GAY NIGGER ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA irc channel, you might be on a wrong irc network. The correct network is NiggerNET, and you can connect to as our official server. Follow this link [irc] if you are using an irc client such as mIRC.

If you have mod points and would like to support GNAA, please moderate this post up.

| ______________________________________._a,____ | Press contact:
| _______a_._______a_______aj#0s_____aWY!400.___ | Gary Niger
| __ad#7!!*P____a.d#0a____#!-_#0i___.#!__W#0#___ | [mailto]
| _j#'_.00#,___4#dP_"#,__j#,__0#Wi___*00P!_"#L,_ | GNAA Corporate Headquarters
| _"#ga#9!01___"#01__40,_"4Lj#!_4#g_________"01_ | 143 Rolloffle Avenue
| ________"#,___*@`__-N#____`___-!^_____________ | Tarzana, California 91356
| _________#1__________?________________________ |
| _________j1___________________________________ | All other inquiries:
| ____a,___jk_GAY_NIGGER_ASSOCIATION_OF_AMERICA_ | Enid Al-Punjabi
| ____!4yaa#l___________________________________ | [mailto]
| ______-"!^____________________________________ | GNAA World Headquarters
` _______________________________________________' 160-0023 Japan Tokyo-to Shinjuku-ku Nishi-Shinjuku 3-20-2

Copyright (c) 2003-2005 Gay Nigger Association of America []

Won't Pedestrians Sque This Data/Reports (1)

c.morrissey (990575) | about 8 years ago | (#15885999)

My question is how can this system be accuret in large citys where some times walking and riding bikes is actully faster then the cars moving on the streets ? Data like this could display a street as being open and moving faster then the next road over when infact its backed up just as far.

Re:Won't Pedestrians Sque This Data/Reports (1)

garnetlion (786722) | about 8 years ago | (#15886361)

In order for it to get the two confused, it seems like there'd have to be almost as many bicyclists/pedestrians going faster than automobile traffic as there would be actual automobile traffic to get the two confused. If you have 200 cars going 3.4 miles per hour, and maybe 10 bicyclists going 10 miles per hour, obviously the vehicles going 10 miles per hour are not traveling in the same lane(s) as those going a third that. It seems like it would be simple enough to just drop the rare incidence of a creature going way outside the general speed range.

Slashdot's Most Duped Story (1)

slagheap (734182) | about 8 years ago | (#15886299)

Okay... I admit, there's new information here, so it's not exactly a dupe... but still. Observe:

Note that the second and third links were actually duped in the same day.

Question for /. users. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15886357)

Why are you so concerned with technology and privacy?

  The United States Government and other big governments have the ability to find out anything they want about you. How hard is it to create a self terminating virus to infect your computer? VoIP makes it easy to ease drop on phone calls. The governments can track your movements with GPS devices or something little more sneaky and underhanded. Ever heard of radio isotopes? I could probaly think of more ways to invade your privacy.

My suggestion to all /. people. Stop trying to hide. It's futile. There is only 2 true ways to hide from governments. Hide on a remote island without anything or be dead.

With that said, I don't care of any technology that tracks my movement.

password (1)

Miguel de Icaza (660439) | about 8 years ago | (#15886452)

i'm abandoning this account
if someone else wants this karma road-crash they are welcome

password monodotnet
password gnaaaang666911

digg on this

Track you home (1)

DavidV (167283) | about 8 years ago | (#15887027)

'personal identification data of users will be stripped from cell phone signals'

But of course they can just track you to your house.

I'm glad Australia takes a few years to take away our rights (DMCA) when the US tells it to.

Land of the free my ass.

Re:Track you home (1)

DavidV (167283) | about 8 years ago | (#15887058)

'Land of the free my ass.' .....I should have put a comma in there somewhere.

Re:Track you home (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15888230)

What the hell? What does this have to do with your rights? If you have a cell phone, you're broadcasting a signal. You don't even have to be looking for it; if you have the appropriate hardware to scan the spectrum, you'll see it. If you're worried about somebody seeing that signal, well, you shouldn't have been transmitting it in the first place.

Uh-oh, I just realized something. When you're in your house, people can tell that there's a cell phone signal coming from it, so they know you're home! Better get some aluminum siding installed to help keep out the government's mind control rays.

Where have I heard this before? (4, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | about 8 years ago | (#15887193)

A bit off-topic, but have you heard they're going to be tracking cell-phone signals to monitor traffic patterns? It's amazing! Why doesn't slashdot ever accept a story on the subject?

You can read more here: [] 8 [] [] [] 7 [] 9 []

There, that's better. Hopefully, one day they'll come to their senses, and post a story or two on the subject.

Re:Where have I heard this before? (1)

Colgate2003 (735182) | about 8 years ago | (#15888523)

From the article:

Called Need4Speed, the test will run from Aug. 7 to 18.

All of the stories you link to talk about how our phones "are going to be" tracked by such systems in the future. This is the first Slashdot mention of a system currently in use.

Déja-vu (1)

vkt-tje (259058) | about 8 years ago | (#15887492)

I've seen this before. Months ago exactly the same system was set up over here. But nothing is sent to any mobile phone, nor is there any need to store any private data: The only thing one needs to measure is the frequnecy of handovers. A handover is when a mobile phone in a cellular systems hops from one cell to the next. So when you measure per cell the amount of phones comong into the cell and the amount of phones leaving the cell, you get a very good idea of the traffic: If incoming is about equal to outgoing then traffic is flowing. If incoming is larger then outgoing then there is a buildup of traffic, the start of a jam If outgoing is larger then incoming, a jam is dissapating If the freqency of handovers is high, the traffic rolling going fast If the frequncy of handovers is low, the traffic is rolling slow (So it is like measuring pressure and flowspeed of a fluid) Again, Note that there is no real reason at all to collect individual IDs. The data gained this way is simply combined with data coming from other measuring techniques (loops in the road most of the time) to control electronic road signs and the classic radio traffic announcements and TMC. The set up over here was specifically aimed at tunnels: there it is very easy to measure traffic since the inside of the tunnel is usually one cell and both ends are two other cells.

Operational in the Netherlands (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15887500)

This site from the province of Brabant in the Netherlands works by tracking cell-phones [] It is operational for more than a year.

This technology already exists (1)

Sjiep (994630) | about 8 years ago | (#15887695)

The company I work for, LogicaCMG, already has done a few similar implementations for a number of clients in the Netherlands. I am project manager of these projects, and the most interesting one is in the province of Noord-Brabant, where we cover 5500 kilometers of road. It's in operation for over three years. A website can be found at URL:hhtp:// The technology we use is remarkably like the one Intellione claims is patented. We use Appliedgenerics' Rodin24 software as the core of the system. Appliedgenerics has been acquired by navigation company TomTom. Their software also makes use of the cell network's A-bis interface and advanced timing features during conversations. This might get interesting, since Appliedgenerics also claims to have their software pretty well protected by patents. Anyone knows who owns IntelliOne?

Obligatory slashdot joke (1)

Dr Damage I (692789) | about 8 years ago | (#15887816)

I, for one, welcome our new cellphone tracking overlords

Walk Run Sprint Drive (1)

karot (26201) | about 8 years ago | (#15888226)

So if a car is in traffic travelling at 3mph, I am jogging past at 5mph, and a motorbike rider drives past at 50mph, all parties have a mobile phone... What is the speed?

I can't see it working until lots of people subscribe, and lots of people will not subscribe to inaccurate data... ...will they?

Working in the industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 years ago | (#15888324)

I work for the company that is going to be processing the GPS data for intellione. Really, we will only be producing traffic flow data. No big brother stuff, as it's not nearly that cool.

But officer I was not speeding (1)

thorkyl (739500) | about 8 years ago | (#15888579)

I threw my cell at 97 mph
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