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The Secret Service bought phone location data, dodging the need for a warrant

The Secret Service bought phone location data, dodging the need for a warrant

A newly released Secret Service document confirms that U.S. law enforcement has been purchasing phone location data gathered from popular apps — soundly circumventing the need for a warrant.

Obtained by Motherboard through a Freedom of Information Act request, the 2017 contract shows the Secret Service bought a product called Locate X from Virginian social media surveillance company Babel Street. Locate X is able to track a cell phone’s movements using anonymised location data collected by various apps, and is so secretive that its mere existence is confidential information.

Using Locate X, the Secret Service could identify devices that were in a specified area during a specified time, and track their movements months before and after that event. Simply follow that trail to a house and presto, that anonymous data is anonymous no more. Read more…

More about Privacy, Surveillance, Secret Service, Law Enforcement, and Location Data

A potentially life-saving app maps the globe into 57 trillion squares, each with a unique address

A potentially life-saving app maps the globe into 57 trillion squares, each with a unique address

what3words aims to solve a growing problem in a digital age — the outdated postal code and street address system. The idea is simple: every three meter square on the globe has a unique three word address. 

what3words works with emergency services in the UK to help them reach people in need faster. Read more…

More about Maps, Postal, Addresses, Location Data, and Tech

FCC confirms wireless carriers broke federal law by selling location data

FCC confirms wireless carriers broke federal law by selling location data

The other shoe is about to drop for wireless carriers that violated customer privacy. 

On Friday, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai, a Donald Trump appointee, informed the House of Representatives that an investigation into the unauthorized sale of users’ real-time location data had concluded. The inquiry, which began in early 2019 following numerous investigative reports into the matter, found at least one carrier broke federal law.

“Following our longstanding calls to take action, the FCC finally informed the Committee today that one or more wireless carriers apparently violated federal privacy protections by turning a blind eye to the widespread disclosure of consumers’ real-time location data,” said Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Chairman to the Energy and Commerce Committee, in a statement. Read more…

More about Fcc, Location Data, Tech, Smartphones, and Consumer Tech