Securus Technologies markets a product to law enforcement that taps into realtime cell-tower data from mobile carriers to produce fine-grained location tracking of anyone carrying a phone; it is nominally marketed to find parolees and wandering https://boingboing.net/2018/05/12/extraordinary-access.htmAlzheimer’s patients, but because it has no checks or balances, cops can query it willy-nilly to find anyone’s location.
That’s what, Cory Hutcheson, ex-Sheriff of Mississippi County, MO, is accused of doing; prosecutors say that for three years, Hutcheson abused Securus’s system to track all kinds of people — even a local judge — without a warrant.
Securus claims that it restricts the use of its system to legally permitted surveillance, requiring users to upload warrants or court orders prior to use; but it does not vet or review those orders before granting access. Securus also does not make the alleged court orders visible to carriers before it queries their databases, meaning that the phone companies have to take Securus’s word for it.
The carriers, meanwhile, are exploiting a loophole in privacy laws that nominally prohibit selling this kind of data: by burying “consent” to the sale of your location data in their lengthy, never-read agreements, the carriers are able to circumvent the law; primarily to sell your data to marketers, but also to surveillance companies like Securus…… Read More