Openly Available Surveillance Systems Exploit Intrinsic Design of Cellphone Networks, Can Track Anyone Anywhere

Grab your tin hat: your cellphone might be giving away your location to spy agencies and sophisticated gangs even as you read this. The Washington Post is reporting that certain companies are selling technology that gives governments and criminals tracking capabilities similar to what the NSA is believed to have.

Think the NSA is the only organization tracking your cell phone? Think again.
Image Credit: sNowFleikuN at deviantART CC-BY-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The tracking systems are believed to use data from mobile carriers, though it’s not clear how they’re accessing that presumably protected data. The report suggests that there are potentially dozens of organizations that have already bought the technology, including governments of other countries who have an interest in spying on U.S. citizens. Of course, companies that sell this privacy-busting location technology go to great pains to protect their own privacy, selling their products in closed forums to avoid public scrutiny.

As disturbing as this news is, it’s not likely to change the public’s behavior. Considering how much you rely on your phone, would you ditch it to keep your whereabouts a secret from whoever’s tracking you?