Saturday, January 21, 2006

World Tracker turns anyone into a cellphone spy

Engadget is pointing to an intersting service from the UK that appears to let you track the cell phone of your employee, spouse, mistress, next victim, etc. via a handy Google maps internet interface.

World Tracker turns anyone into a cellphone spy - Engadget:

Forget those piddly wiretaps. The next frontier in warrant-free surveillance is upon us, and it's open to everyone. A UK service called World Tracker apparently uses cell tower data (or GPS, when available) to track the location of just about any GSM cellphone. Just enter the number you want to track into the service's handy Google Maps-based interface, and you'll be able to zoom in on the device's location, with accuracy somewhere between 50 and 500 meters. The first time you try to track a phone, a text message is sent to the owner, who must reply in order to enable tracking (we'll leave it to you to figure out how to work around this if you need to track a spouse, kid or employee). The service is currently compatible with O2, Vodafone, Orange and T-Mobile in the UK, and has plans to expand to other markets including Germany, Spain, Norway and the US. If, that is, privacy advocates don't shut it down first.

I checked out the site. The most appealing bit is the ability to be alerted when your loved one has strayed beyond the "geo fence" that you've set for her. Sign me up.

Hmm. What'll they think of next?

And if they have any expansion plans into Canada, they'll need to know that location based information is personal information and -- thanks to PIEPDA and PIPA -- it can only be collected and disclosed with consent.

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