Sunday, 7 March 2010

Sprint Tells Police Where You Are Sprint Feeds Customer GPS Data To Police

A blog posting by Christopher Soghoian reveals that Sprint served up
customer location data over 8 million times to local police forces
during the course of one year. The shocking part is that this was done
without any warrant from the courts
. Soghoian learned this while he was a college student at Indiana
University, and attended aย surveillanceย industry conference in
Washington DC.
According to an audio clip posted by Soghoian, a manager at Sprint's
Electronic Surveillance ย divisionย (hello, 1984)ย describedย how his
company provides GPS location data to police forces, without a warrant
or any approval from the courts. The police are able to get this data
automatically, through a web portal.
Soghoian alleges that using loopholes inย surveillanceย laws that aren't
modern enough to include electronic media, the US Government and various
law enforcement agencies areย routinelyย getting the electronic data of
US citizens. The forms of data listed by Soghoian include web browsing
history, e-mail and IM history, numbers dialed from a cell phone,
queries input into aย searchย engine and, your location, based on GPS
Although the 8 million request number may seem high, keep in mind that
police are using a web portal to retrieve the data and Soghoian's audio
doesn't make clear if that includes refreshing – so if cops are
following a person of interest, and jammingย Ctrl+F5 every few minutes,
that might add up the 'requests' quickly. Keep in mind that Sprint only
has around 40,000,000 cellular phone customers.
No comment on what other electronics companies use this kind of
'electronicย surveillance'. The ACLU is investigating, although,
according to tech blog Ars Technica, this type of surveillance is
perfectly legal under current US laws. If you've had enough –
write your Congressmen.
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