Feature

Using cell phones to spy on us

While no one noticed, police have acquired the ability to spy on citizens “on a scale that is both vast and intimate,” said Steve Chapman in the Chicago Tribune.

Steve Chapman Chicago Tribune

Would you voluntarily carry a device that tells the government where you are 24 hours a day? “Too late,” said Steve Chapman. You already do. You may not realize it, but your cell phone sends out signals that can be used to track your every movement. Remarkably, no search warrant is required for cops to track your whereabouts. Police need only tell a judge that the information is relevant to a criminal investigation—even if you’re not a target.

Cellular service providers recently admitted they receive “thousands” of such requests from law-enforcement agencies each month. The agencies compare this odious practice to a cop following you down the street, for which no warrant is necessary. But for most of us, it’s an alarming new invasion of privacy. Cell records “can reveal if someone is having an affair, visiting a gay bar, attending a militia meeting, going to an abortion clinic,” or any of countless activities Americans “would rather conceal from a government they do not fully trust.” While no one noticed, police have acquired the ability to spy on citizens “on a scale that is both vast and intimate.”

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