Big Brother is Watchin…, er, Listening

theoversightfallacy.jpgFrom the London Times:

Customers in shopping centres are having their every move tracked by a new type of surveillance that listens in on the whisperings of their mobile phones.

The technology can tell when people enter a shopping centre, what stores they visit, how long they remain there, and what route they take as they walked around.

Oh, mah freakin’ gawd!

The surveillance mechanism works by monitoring the signals produced by mobile handsets and then locating the phone by triangulation – measuring the phone’s distance from three receivers.

It’s like those screens in "1984". Big Brother can be everywhere. Well, everywhere they’ve got these nifty receivers. Evidently the receivers can track the cellphone by IMEI code, a unique ID number given to each cellphone at the time of manufacture.

Phone networks have long been capable of gauging the rough location of a handset using three phone masts, but the margin error can be as great as 2km. The process is also less efficient when the phone is indoors. Path Intelligence’s technology can tell where a phone is to "within a couple of metres."

Even when it’s turned off, a cellphone makes contact with the towers every couple minutes. So, using this technology, Big Bro could know within a within a few feet and within a few minutes, where you were.

Just thought you would want to know that.

graphic by designedlearning

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