“Sprint Nextel provided law enforcement agencies with its customers’ (GPS) location information over 8 million times between September 2008 and October 2009. This massive disclosure of sensitive customer information was made possible due to the roll-out by Sprint of a new, special web portal for law enforcement officers.
The evidence documenting this surveillance program comes in the form of an audio recording of Sprint’s Manager of Electronic Surveillance, who described it during a panel discussion at a wiretapping and interception industry conference, held in Washington DC in October of 2009.”
slight paranoia: 8 Million Reasons for Real Surveillance Oversight
I think the thing that makes this noteworthy is the portal. If such a thing really does exist, then it lowers the barrier to getting cell-phone based location on people to such a degree that the potential for abuse is much higher. The next barrier that would make abuse easier would be if the portal simultaneously sourced from multiple carriers besides Sprint.
I have a curious feeling that this will result in more bizarre social behavior than it will in violations of civil liberties: Now off-duty cops will be showing up at all of the same clubs as Paris Hilton, information about Tiger Woods’ latest travels will be leaked to TMZ, and important people will stop owning phones and opt to use their assistant’s phones instead.
The Grameen phone ladies are coming to the U.S., but for very different reasons.