(NaturalNews) Has the age of electronic stalking begun? Google has announced a new service called Latitude
that triangulates the real-time position of any mobile phone user and displays their location online, in real time, for other people to see.
Google says it's a "100 percent opt in" service that only works if you sign up for it, but there's something fishy about all this they're not saying: How is it that Google has access to cell phone tower triangulation data
in the first place?
A typical programmer (or even a company) can't simply announce they're creating an online mapping program and get access to cell phone tower triangulation data. This requires some sort of high-level data interchange between Google and telecommunications companies -- you know, the kind of data interchange normally reserved for the FBI or CIA. That Google now has this technology is downright spooky (and "spook" is the right word here...).
Technically, it means that Google engineers now have access to the physical location of virtually every mobile phone user in the country. Even if they're not making your location public, the point is they could if they wanted to
There is a way to thwart this technology, of course: Remove the battery from your mobile phone
if you don't want to be tracked. Turning it off isn't good enough, either: You actually have to physically remove the battery to be sure you're not being tracked.
A history of your geographic movements?
By the way, remember how the U.S. government once subpoenaed Google to turn over details of 100 million searches? There's no reason why the government couldn't one day subpoena Google's cell phone triangulation logs and request an archived history of the movements of one particular person.
Where were you on December 31, 2008? Google
probably has a record of that somewhere. Every store you shopped at, every house you visited and every route you drove to work for the past year has potentially been logged and archived. This is all data that could one day be used against you in a court of law. The data could even reveal you were speeding down the interstate, ignoring speed limit laws.
, Google has opened a can of worms into issues of personal privacy and automated surveillance
. They've also given the public new surveillance tools that people can use to stalk each other online.
Note to husbands everywhere: Your days of "going bowling with the guys" are history. If your wife finds out about Latitude and signs you up, you're now on a new electronic leash. Forget about calling home every hour -- your wife knows
where you are anyway! The same goes for wives who want to "hang out with the girls" to get away from a paranoid husband. The era of domestic stalking
has been unleashed, and the implications are spooky.