At a recent conference known as "ISS World" - where ISS is an acronym for the otherwise Orwellian "Intelligence Support Systems for Lawful Interception, Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Gathering" - Sprint's Manager of Electronic Surveillance commented that in the past 13 months, the communications conglomerate had received 8 million requests from law enforcement for precise GPS location data revealing the location and movement of Sprint customers.
8 million. In 13 months.
Full disclosure: I'm a member of EFF.
More full disclosure: I'm really pissed about this. And you should be, too.
As noted in the EFF story:
Sprint received over 8 million requests for its customers' information in the past 13 months. That doesn't count requests for basic identification and billing information, or wiretapping requests, or requests to monitor who is calling who, or even requests for less-precise location data based on which cell phone towers a cell phone was in contact with. That's just GPS. And, that's not including legal requests from civil litigants, or from foreign intelligence investigators. That's just law enforcement. And, that's not counting the few other major cell phone carriers like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. That's just Sprint.
The surveillance society under which we live is simply staggering. There's absolutely no activity in which you're engaged that isn't being tracked, logged, recorded, or captured in some manner.
This used to be the kind of scenario reserved for the big screen. Who needs a Tom Cruise movie that's based on the premise of police being able to pinpoint future crimes, empowered to arrest the prospective perp before the crime occurs, when reality is far more frightening?
EFF poses the following question: Is this type of behavior consistent with a free society and American values?
The answer is no. And since this type of surveillance continues, unchecked, the logical conclusion is that we no longer live in a free society, and that American values have been tossed aside like week-old bread under the guise of protecting America.
Freedom was nice while it lasted.
Image via Wikimedia Commons