January 11, 2014
Cell Phones Let Cops Track People For A Thousandth Of The Price
Itís no secret that the ability to track a cell phone has led to a sea change in law enforcement surveillance methods. But now a pair of researchers have actually put a number to the plummeting cost of that covert spying in the modern world: Tracking a cell phoneís location, they found, costs somewhere between 1.9% and .015 % of the price of tailing someone the old fashioned way. Forbes reports.
In a paper published Thursday in the Yale Law Journal, privacy-focused researchers Ashkan Soltani and Kevin Bankston have calculated the per-hour cost to law enforcement of tracking a personís location using every method from officers on foot to police-planted GPS devices to obtaining the suspectís location from their cell carrier. The results show that the cost of 24/7 surveillance operations have been reduced from hundreds of dollars an hour to employ teams of agents to track individuals in shifts to just a few dollars or even just pennies to query AT&T or Sprint for the same location data.
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