February 27, 2003
GPS and Other Tech Increases Spying and Tracking

Global Position System (GPS) devices are being used to track the movement of spouses and workers.

Spouses who believe mates are having affairs, employers who suspect workers are misusing company vehicles or parents who wonder if their children are where they are supposed to be are among those using devices tied to the global positioning system of satellites.

The ability to track children with GPS will likely eventually lead to the embedding of GPS devices inside the bodies of children. Then parents who are worried about kidnapping will be able to rest assured that they will be able to find their children if they are kidnapped. Of course, a very sophistication kidnapper will be able to shield or remove locator devices. But the devices would at least be an obstacle for most kidnappers and would allow quicker location of children who are murdered by perverted killers.

GPS is used to track stolen cars and find accident locations.

Working with police, Avis turns on the system only if the car appears to have been stolen, Deutsch says. The system will also automatically activate if the air bag inflates, indicating a possible accident. In that event, Deutsch says, you may hear a voice through your radio ask, "Are you OK? Are you all right?" The system indicates your location for emergency aid.

GPS is used as a substitute for criminal incarceration.

GPS monitoring gives local governments a cheap alternative to incarceration and allows offenders an opportunity to continue working and living at home. Law enforcement agencies can create "electronic fences" around areas that are off-limits to offenders. The GPS system can be programmed to alert police if a pedophile enters a schoolyard, for example.

Kenosha Wisconsin police charged Paul Anthony Siedler with use of GPS to stalk his ex-girlfriend.

Kenosha police allege that Seidler placed a Global Positioning System tracking device under the hood of the woman's car and began monitoring her movements. Charged with stalking, burglary, disorderly conduct, and reckless endangerment,

GPS is being studied for car insurance billing by the mile driven.

With new technology on the scene to accurately record mileage, the time is also right. Traditionally, some insurers have worried over how the would record mileage accurately with such a system. Progressive Insurance, the fourth-largest US car insurer, has pioneered this area. For two years, it has been testing "smart" insurance in Texas, installing miniprocessors that use GPS technology to record distance and time driven. Pleased with consumer response, Progressive is considering a national rollout of the policy.

One can easily imagine how this technology could be enhanced to bill at different rates in different driving conditions. For instance, driving in rainy or snowy conditions or at night or in densely populated areas which have higher accident rates could be more expensive.

The Oregon Road User Fee Task Force has proposed billiing in-state cars for mileage driven in-state to compensate for new car technologies that reduce the amount of gasoline fuel needed and hence the amount of gasoline tax collected.

“We also have to have a way to track mileage only within the state,” Whitty said. This rules out basing the fee on odometer readings, which would include out-of-state driving.

“Technology has improved to the degree that this can be done, with an electronic device,” he said. The device, in a car, would be linked to the Global Positioning Satellite or GPS system, which allows pinpoint navigation by bouncing signals off satellites.

A British government advisory panel has proposed nationwide use of GPS to implement road use taxes.

All cars will be fitted with a 'big brother' satellite tracking meter to charge drivers up to 45p a mile for every journey taken under radical plans to slash congestion on British roads.

The scheme, proposed by the Government's independent transport advisers, would see drivers handed monthly bills charging them for every single journey.

GPS is even coming to cell phones so that callers to emergency numbers can be located.

Many rental fleets and trucking companies already use satellite positioning systems to track cars and cargo. Companies promote similar products for keeping tabs on kids, Alzheimer's patients or cheating spouses. Washington is also promoting locator technology. By October, the Federal Communications Commission wants cell phones equipped with locator technology to help emergency responders find callers.

A large assortment of other technologies are being used to help catch cheating spouses.

Whatever happened to the lipstick stain on the collar? In the old days of freewheeling adultery, a hang-up call in the middle of the night was the worst a philandering rogue had to worry about. Now there are itemized cell-phone bills, call-display screens, automobile tracking devices, Internet history folders, stealth-mode keystroke-recording software programs and spray-on sperm detectors all waiting to trip you up.

The spy business is growing.

The spy business is a $3 billion a year industry in the United States, and spouses are leading the way, employing a range of techniques to catch their mates at adultery.

Lots of other technologies can be used to track and monitor people and to detect types of behavior. Semen detection tests available for order on the internet are used to detect spousal sexual activity with other people.

The Original CheckMate Semen Detection Test Kit will quickly and easily monitor your spouse's sexual activity outside of the relationship by detecting invisible traces of dried semen that is left in their undergarments after sex...

In spite of the rise of DNA testing, GPS tracking, and phone conversation recording hidden cameras are still the most popular seller.

“Spy cameras are definitely our No. 1 seller,” says Ursula Lebana, owner of Spy Tech in Toronto, Canada. “The cameras have become so small that they will fit into anything. People bring us their own items—lamps, music boxes, humidifiers—and we install cameras in them. You could be on camera anywhere. If you’re not doing anything wrong, then it should make you feel safer.”

The total surveillance society of the future will not be one where only the government is watching. Even business surveillance of employees and customers is only a part of the larger phenomenon. Individuals will increasingly track the movements, conversations, electronic messages, and activities of others in a growing number of ways. Spouses will surveil each other. Parents will track the movements and activities of their children. Portable automated chemical assay devices will make it easy for parents or others to rapidly and easily check for drug use.

Imagine the possibilities that will be opened up by steadily higher density recording media. Gifts of jewelry which have hidden audio storage capacity will provide a way to record the conversations of someone for romantic or business reasons. Nanotech electronics will likely eventually allow the recording media to be the jewelry itself. Detection of an embedded piece of nanoelectronics may turn out to be extremely difficult to do.

Automated processing of video, sound, scent, motion, location, other types of sensors, and electronic information will make it easier to sort thru the growing number of sensor feeds that individuals, companies, and governments will monitor. David Brin argues our only choice is between limiting powerful surveillance technologies solely to government use or allowing everyone to use them. Privacy is inevitably going to decrease. There is no feasible way to stop a large decrease in privacy.

Some types of technology are so easy to move around on a black market that restrictions on their use by the general public will have the effect of allowing only criminals and governments to use them. Some types of information will be so widely desired that even otherwise non-criminal citizens will opt to use them even if their use is illegal. Miniaturization of electronic monitoring devices and the ability to embed them in common items will make it very hard to detect or control their use.

One's privacy is not just a matter of where one goes or what one says or does. It includes financial data as well as medical details about oneself such as health records and even details of one's very structure. One crucial set of details is one's personal DNA code. As I've argued previously, in the long run DNA sequence privacy is going to be impossible to protect. It will simply be too easy to get a sample of someone's DNA sequence. Note how the semen detector service is a viable business because samples of biological material of even a spouse's lover is easy to get without the spouse or the lover knowing that one has done so. Once DNA sequencing machines become sufficiently fast, sensitive, and cheap that biological material will surely be usable to find out the DNA sequence of a spouse's lover. One way that information will be usable would be to predict the approximate physical appearance of the lover so that a private detective could more easily spot the lover as part of an investigation into a spouse's cheating. Once the results of DNA sequencing can be used to predict approximate physical appearance of a person then the ability to do DNA sequencing on saliva, blood, skin, semen, and other biological material will also be used by police, private investigators, and intelligence agencies to develop profiles of suspects.

The widespread embrace of the use of surveillance technology by the general public demonstrates a popular willingness to watch and track other people. This trend looks set to continue to grow with no end in sight.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2003 February 27 03:47 PM  Surveillance GPS

John Moore said at February 27, 2003 7:46 PM:

I think we are going to have to learn how to adjust in a almost constant surveillance world. The government will have more (and needs it IMHO). As you point out, private surveillance is increasing, and you didn't even mention the almost ubiquitous video cameras and the increasing number of web cameras, stoplight cameras, ATM cameras, store cameras, etc.

Perhaps we will need legislated privacy zones, privacy data and privacy communications. Thus snooping on you in your home would be a big no-no, but taking your picture when you are in your front yard would not. Your medical data would be protected (it is now, through the HIPAA act) as would certain financial data. Your phone calls and private email would be likewise protected. All of this, of course, could be pierced by a warrant, either the traditional kind or a national security (FISA) type.

I read somewhere that the average American is photographed (or videoed) 100 times per day! Surveillance is already here.

Curtis Hepner said at May 8, 2003 12:10 PM:

Need pictures of Vallejo Police "piggies" unauthorized install of the GPS in my vehicle?

Cock suckers "Hi-jacked for Lo-jack"

Kelvin Ikenma said at July 13, 2005 9:53 AM:

PLS could anyone give me an information about were to get a cheap GPS car monitoring system, that would work in Africa. Especially Ghana and Nigeria. I want to market the product in these countries.

kurt junshean said at July 21, 2005 7:02 AM:

Is there already a human tracking system using gps that make use only of the human DNA( as the element being tacked instead of the chips embedded in human body,etc )?
If there is none yet, is this possible with the present technology or in the future?

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