Cell phone surveillance new york times

Congress and about a dozen states are considering legislative proposals to tighten restrictions on the use of cell tracking.

Mobile Phones

While cell tracing allows the police to get records and locations of users, the A. Much of the debate over phone surveillance in recent years has focused on the federal government and counterterrorism operations, particularly a once-secret program authorized by President George W. Bush after the Sept. It allowed the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on phone calls of terrorism suspects and monitor huge amounts of phone and e-mail traffic without court-approved intelligence warrants.

As part of the law, the Bush administration insisted that phone companies helping in the program be given immunity against lawsuits. Since then, the wide use of cell surveillance has seeped down to even small, rural police departments in investigations unrelated to national security. Tell us what you think.

Cops Tracking Us Through Our Cell Phones

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You are already subscribed to this email. Is it any wonder, then, that public transportation use has fallen while private, tech-enabled mobility services expand?

Surveillance of Citizens by Government - The New York Times

The future will look different, though. Location services data can highlight common travel patterns that take too long because private vehicles overwhelm transit capacity. The same data can help us identify the most dangerous streets for pedestrians, bikers, and drivers alike, so we can make safety improvements. We can better understand what types of zoning and local businesses contribute to active areas where people want to visit, and spend their time and money.

A recent study detailed by Richard Florida in CityLab shows how geospatial data can help us to better understand social and economic segregation within cities. Using Twitter data not even the best location data the study authors found that minority households not only live in segregated neighborhoods, but also tend to travel to racially segregated neighborhoods, potentially reinforcing their social and economic isolation. Yet even if location data will continue to improve our world, the Times article is absolutely right to highlight the need to regulate these sensitive data.

There is clearly a breakdown in expectation between what users believe they offer and what companies collect, even if disclosure statements legally protect all the data collection. The Times investigation shows how easy it is to violate that trust. This is a perfect place for a new Congress and its partners at the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission to get to work.

Carry two phones

How can we protect the benefits, real and prospective, that these data can provide? Who should have access to sensitive individual data, and who should only see anonymized, aggregated versions? What is the appropriate agency to regulate these activities? The country needs to have these debates, which the Times article helpfully provokes.


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As we do so, we should keep in mind not only the peril, but also the promise, of location data for advancing a more efficient and equitable society. The Avenue Broadband subscriptions are up, but too many households are still disconnected Adie Tomer and Lara Fishbane.