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WHO'S IN CHARGE HERE?
Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006

You're never alone when you have a cell phone.

That's because your cell phone company — and the government — are always looking over your shoulder. Any time your phone is turned on, they can track your movements and location.

Most people know that when they make a mobile call—during a 911 emergency, for example—authorities can access phone company technology to pin down their location, sometimes to within a few feet.

A lesser-known fact: Cell phone companies can locate you any time you are in range of a tower and your phone is on. Cell phones are designed to work either with global positioning satellites or through "pings" that allow towers to triangulate and pinpoint signals. Any time your phone "sees" a tower, it pings it....

Telecom companies and government are not eager to advertise that tracking capability. Nor will companies admit whether they are archiving the breadcrumb trail of pings from a cell phone so that they?or authorities?can trace back, after the fact, where the customer had been at a particular time. "Of course, there is that capability," says Bruce Schneier, chief technical officer with Counterpane Internet Security. "Verizon and the other companies have access to that information and the odds are zero that they wouldn?t sell it if it is legal and profitable. This is capitalism after all."

Via In These Times.

| | Posted by Magpie at 10:03 AM | Get permalink




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