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Cops' Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking Now Better Than GPS

Sparrowvsrevolution (1926150) writes | more than 2 years ago

Privacy 0

Sparrowvsrevolution (1926150) writes "On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to discuss a proposed bill to limit location tracking of electronic devices without a warrant, what it’s calling the Geolocational Privacy and Surveillance Act, or the GPS Act. Ahead of that hearing, University of Pennsylvania computer science professor Matt Blaze submitted written testimony telling Congress that phone carriers, as well as the law enforcement agencies that they share data with, can now use phones’ proximity to cell towers and other sources of cellular data to track their location as precisely or even more precisely than they can with global positioning satellites. Thanks to the growing density of cell towers and the proliferation of devices like picocells and femtocells that transmit cell signals indoors, even GPS-less phones can be tracked with a high degree of precision and can offer data that GPS can’t, like the location of someone inside a building or what floor they’re on.

With the GPS Act, Congress is considering expanding the ban on warrantless tracking of cars with GPS devices that the Supreme Court decided on in January. Blaze's testimony suggests they need to include non-GPS tracking of cell phones in that ban, a measure that law enforcement agencies are strongly resisting."

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