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Tracking Phones, Google Is a Dragnet for the Police

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#1 TVCasualty


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Posted 15 April 2019 - 08:31 AM

From last Saturday's New York Times (all emphasis mine):


When detectives in a Phoenix suburb arrested a warehouse worker in a murder investigation last December, they credited a new technique with breaking open the case after other leads went cold.


The police told the suspect, Jorge Molina, they had data tracking his phone to the site where a man was shot nine months earlier. They had made the discovery after obtaining a search warrant that required Google to provide information on all devices it recorded near the killing, potentially capturing the whereabouts of anyone in the area.





The Arizona case demonstrates the promise and perils of the new investigative technique, whose use has risen sharply in the past six months, according to Google employees familiar with the requests.



Then this quote caught my attention:


Law enforcement officials described the method as exciting, but cautioned that it was just one tool.



"Exciting?" That's very telling IMO.


To me it suggests that the people developing this shit are utterly tone-deaf as to the impact these 'exciting' new tools have on the lives of actual people, nor the Constitutional/privacy/personal freedom issues they raise. They're just geeks geeking out on coming up with code that works, apparently, and to hell with trifles like legality or privacy.


But hey, at least we're being assured that this egregious violation of our civil rights is not the only tool in their box! What a relief!


And the tone-deafness continues, making me think these people live in an alternate Universe that's been somehow isolated from the one that the rest of us live in where becoming more intrusive and invasive than even Orwell's Big Brother is considered 'exciting' rather than evil and in opposition to those romanticized American 'values' that are talked about a lot but not really taken seriously, apparently.


And in case anyone missed it, the article details how this "exciting" new tool initially resulted in the arrest of the wrong person.


Now tell me again how that is an improvement over old-school policing? "Sorry about that week you spent in jail by mistake, hope you still got a job and maybe next time you'll be more careful where you carry your phone!"



This insanity means that we're going to have to be careful to not be anywhere that any crimes are committed by anyone, among other concerns. Which is patently absurd, but fortunately the total-surveillance paradigm is inherently doomed thanks to the nature of how it works, so all we need is a bit of patience for the next enormous and inevitable solar flare.


Until then, if you keep wearing your tracking collar...uh, I mean 'using your smart phone' without taking any measures to protect yourself and shit like happened to Jorge Molina (see article) happens to you then you can't say you weren't warned.




Additional article about the Google "Sensorvault" database: https://www.nytimes....n-tracking.html

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#2 Cuboid



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Posted 15 April 2019 - 10:17 AM

I tend to only enable the GPS on my mobile if I'm actually needing it. Mostly to save the battery life. It's a hard line to tread making use of all this technology without comprising privacy. Google turned bad many years ago and I never really trusted them anyway. It sucks. Not sure what the solution really is.

#3 Coopdog



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Posted 15 April 2019 - 12:26 PM

They have made it where people embrace the chain my friend. How many people do you know who have Alexa installed in their home? THose cute little I robot thingies that help to document your life... smart TV's, smart appliances. It is truly staggering how prevalent it is. I seriously considered throwing my phone away a couple years back, but alas... I too am now a part of the system that can't navigate without my leash on. The only way to be safe now is totally tech free and you would still be on someones radar twenty times a day. The reality is way to Orwellian to contemplate...

#4 Alder Logs

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 03:56 PM

I still am wondering when there will be a law demanding that I have either a smart phone or must get chipped with microphone and a GPS transponder. 

Edited by Alder Logs, 15 April 2019 - 03:57 PM.

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#5 Furthur1



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Posted Yesterday, 05:13 PM

i read this when the notification came through on my phone for my smart news app, while stoned after not smoking for a couple of weeks.

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#6 Pan1



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Posted Yesterday, 08:26 PM

420 is rolling up here, I was at 420 Toronto 4 years ago they were using facial recognition software there, probably doesn't even run threw the DMV probably uses social media way more data.. That's like the simplest they can do with an android. Short of melting it down with a blow tourch they will always be able to recover some readable data.

#7 PJammer24


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Posted Today, 09:59 AM

It was the police who were excited by the technology and how they could use it, not the "Geeks"...


For the time being, I would imagine that a judge would only issue this type of warrant in the most extreme cases, like murder for example. From my perspective, if you were in the vicinity of a murder and you didn't do anything then you have very little to fear. Yes, there are people who have been convicted in error but this is by far the exception rather than the rule.... I know that any time I have gotten in trouble it was because I was guilty.


There is a lot of data to sort through. I think that this could only be used on a limited basis for a very specific goal. It would require too much computing power for the present day police officer to be scanning all the data being collected on a given day.


If you don't want to be tracked, turn your location services off and run a VPN... There are steps you can take to be more secure.

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