Cell phones seem like an innocuous way to keep in touch with the kids, to access the internet from any location, and a way to call for help if your car breaks down.
In reality, though, the phone attached to your hip is not so innocuous. This part of everyday American culture is little more than a personal locator that can be activated at any point in time by persons who may or may not have our best interests at heart. Because it's entertaining, modern and cool to have, we gobble it up without a second thought towards our privacy.
Since 2002, the FCC has mandated that ALL cellphones be equipped with a GPS locator. The technology was mandated under the guise of response to 911 calls. ALL cellphones can be tracked to within 50-200 meters of your physical location.
Well, not only can the government and law enforcement locate you at will, regular folks with nefarious purposes can also do so. Dozens of websites like howtotrackacellphone.org can help anyone channel his or her inner James Bond.
If your cell phone is with you and turned on, you may as well shine the bat signal into the sky and say, "Come and get me!!!"
The reality is that anyone can locate you at any time. YOUR CELL PHONE IS A PERSONAL LOCATOR BEACON. For law enforcement purposes it will find you using the same technology used on a parolee with an ankle bracelet.
The invasion of your privacy doesn't end with merely your physical location, however.
The FBI can use something called a ROVING BUG with which they can tap into your phone calls, unbeknownst to you. Not only can they listen to the calls made on your phone, but they can activate the microphone and listen to conversations you are having in proximity of the phone. Even if the phone is turned off, the microphone can be activated. The only way to escape the roving bug is by removing the battery.
In Michigan, the state police have a handy dandy little device called a "data extractor". A MOBILE FORENSIC EXTRACTION DEVICE is a hand held gadget that can take information directly from your cell phone, such as recent text messages, phone numbers dialed, and calls received. It can also gather deleted information, user passwords and file dumps. The Michigan State Police have commented that the device is only used with a warrant or with permission. Thank goodness we can always trust what police officers say...oh wait...it isn't against the law for them to lie.
The FBI, by the way, is where it's at for cool gadgets these days. A technology called TRIGGERFISH actually simulates a cell tower, taking your call and routing it, while also, of course, listening to it and pinpointing your location. The fun of Triggerfish is that no warrant is necessary. No probable cause is required. The users of this technology answer to no one regarding their snooping.
All of these things can be classified as "for the greater good." We can find missing children via the GPS in their cell phone. Police can see if the occupants of a vehicle pulled over for a traffic stop are joking via text about the drugs or firearms in the car. The FBI can heroically catch the bad guys.
There are some ways to protect yourself...read THIS ARTICLE to find out how...but keep in mind, despite our best efforts to defend ourselves from intrusion, Big Brother has more resources to find new ways to keep an eye on us.
Unfortunately all that good stuff comes at a very high price. That price is the freedom of your very thoughts and personal communications.
The words penned by Benjamin Franklin way back in 1759 are ringing eerily prophetic in today's technological police state.
"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."