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NSA Collects Huge Troves of Cellphone Location Data
Washington Post: This might be the biggest threat to privacy yet
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2013 4:49 PM CST
The Edward Snowden leaks continue.   (AP Photo/The Guardian, Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras)

(Newser) – The editor of the Guardian suggested that lots more Edward Snowden scoops are in the works, and, sure enough, the Washington Post obliges with what may be the biggest one yet. Its report says the NSA tracks the locations of hundreds of millions of cellphones around the world each day and stores a mind-boggling 5 billion records per day on their whereabouts. The story has the by-now familiar NSA caveat: It doesn't deliberately target Americans' locations—the intent is to track terrorists overseas—but some US citizens get "incidentally" caught up in the enormous sweep. Intelligence officials refused to estimate how many that might be. And for those who think disposable phones will protect them, those kinds of tactics tend to bring on greater scrutiny.

"In scale, scope and potential impact on privacy, the efforts to collect and analyze location data may be unsurpassed among the NSA surveillance programs that have been disclosed since June," write Barton Gellman and Ashkan Soltani in the Post. "Analysts can find cellphones anywhere in the world, retrace their movements and expose hidden relationships among individuals using them." The article quotes an ACLU technologist on that issue: “One of the key components of location data, and why it’s so sensitive, is that the laws of physics don’t let you keep it private," he says. "The only way to hide your location is to disconnect from our modern communication system and live in a cave.” Click for the full story, which introduces another NSA analytics program: CO-TRAVELER.

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Comments
Showing 3 of 36 comments
????
Dec 5, 2013 3:05 AM CST
People are too lazy to control their own tech. Allowing others control it disenfranchises users by extension since we've grown dependent on our tech. 'End users' are similar to mute cattle led to slaughter by looking to government for protection. No pity for the weak or stupid.
iq145
Dec 4, 2013 11:43 PM CST
You know what makes me sad? YOU DO! Maybe we should chug on over to mamby pamby land, where maybe we can find some self confidence for you, ya jackwagon!
MSCOTTASHLEY
Dec 4, 2013 9:35 PM CST
Ah, the Brave New World is upon us and it's not going to go away.