Headline yesterday and today from the Wall Street Journal. Airplanes Secretly Track U.S. Cellphones.
I'm linking the story from Gizmodo because the WSJ won't let you read unless you subscribe.
"A secret U.S. spy program used fake cell phone towers attached to airplanes to scan citizens' cell phones and collect their data. The scheme, carried out by the Technical Operations Group of the U.S. Marshals, uses devices known as "dirtboxes" to mimic powerful cell tower signs. These dirtboxes are strong enough to trick phones to automatically switch over to their signals, even if a real tower is nearby. The plan aims to help the Justice Department catch criminals."
Great! Get the bad guys. But unfortunately for the rest of us, everyone's cell data is being picked up and although it's claimed they "let go" of the data after they've determined that a phone does not belong a suspect, but what that means exactly is unclear.
This puts me in mind of a plane we morning dog walkers see fly over every morning. It's not a passenger plane or a private plane, but a plane of a size and shape rarely seen. We hear its low hum before we see it and often comment on just what the purpose is. It flys higher than traffic copters and lower than normal planes, low enough that we can see that there are no markings on this plane.
Maybe its one of these tracking planes. Or maybe not. What is true is we're tracked all day long, everywhere we go. And that's one of this generation's bad things.