Ford Exec: ‘We Know Everyone Who Breaks The Law’ Thanks To Our GPS In Your Car – Business Insider

Ford Exec: ‘We Know Everyone Who Breaks The Law’ Thanks To Our GPS In Your Car – Business Insider.

While Ford’s VP of Global Marketing and Sales has since tried to retract his statements, it is fairly obvious that his original assertion that “[Ford] know[s] everyone who breaks the law, we know when you’re doing it. We have GPS in your car, so we know what you’re doing.”  is, in fact, spot-on the truth. While Ford may not be currently doing nefarious things with the data is collects from the GPS devices is it now installing in all of its vehicles, it does highlight the fact that companies that create products we buy and own are now collecting data on us over which we, as consumers, have zero control or ownership.

Data collection of this scope and nature raises huge privacy concerns, and certainly offers even further potential in-roads for the government to collect surveillance data on individuals. As you may be aware, recent court decisions have held that law enforcement cannot palce GPS trackers on automobiles without first obtaining a warrant from a court to do so. With the collection of this kind of data by car companies such as Ford, there is now no deed for law enforcement to obtain a warrant to track a suspect. They can simply demand the records maintained by Ford, for which, based on current case law, there is no requirement for a warrant.

While I am neither a Luddite decrying the dangers of technology, nor a paranoiac assuming that either the Governement or “Big Business” are out to get us, this sort of widespread and pervasive data collection clearly points out the need for a robust public debate over the meaning and boundaries of privacy in the digital age. While there is immense good (economic, social, and otherwise) that we can do with all the data we are now capable of (and are in fact) collecting and analyzing, there comes with it significant dangers of destroying personal privacy altogether and eroding the civil rights accorded to U.S. citizens under the U.S. Constitution.

While this debate had begun to come to the forefront of many people’s consciousness with the revelations of the activities of the NSA by Snowden, it is increasingly clear that the definition of privacy and privacy rights of individuals (and even businesses) is something that requires wide ranging thought, analysis, robust public debate, and in the end decisive legal action. Both our economy and our personal freedoms depend the outcome of the process. We cannot simply afford to sit by and “see what happens”. The statekes are far to great.

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California state legislature approves Location Privacy Act | Ars Technica

via California state legislature approves Location Privacy Act | Ars Technica.

According to an article on Ars Technica, California’s state legislature passed the Location Privacy Act of 2012 (SB-1434) on Wednesday, which would make it mandatory for law enforcement agencies to obtain a warrant before gathering any GPS or other location-tracking data that a suspect’s cell phone might be sending back to its carrier.

This is a different tack than the federal appeals court took last week in a different case. In that case the appeals court ruled that police were allowed to track a GPS coming from a suspect’s prepaid phone without a warrant.
It is clear that there remains a significant divide between courts and jurisdictions on the issue of expectation of privacy and Fourth Amendment search and seizure issues in the electronic age. It may be quite some time before these issues are decided with clarity. In the meantime the privacy debate rages on.

GPS Weakness Could Enable Mass Smartphone Hacking – Technology Review

GPS Weakness Could Enable Mass Smartphone Hacking – Technology Review.

A researcher at the University of Luxembourg has discovered that a weakness in the A-GPS location process used by smartphone can permit malicious wi-fi sites to re-route the phone’s A-GPS location queries to the malicious site even after the smartphone has disconnected from the malicious site, permitting hackers to track the phone from that point on.
Furthermore, on smartphones where A-GPS signals are processed on the phone’s main CPU, hackers can use this exploit to crash the phoe and possibly make use of other bugs to compromise the phone.
This exploit was demonstrated on a umber of different Android phones by several manufacturers.

Patent Troll Claims it Owns Patent on GPS – Sues FourSquare



A Nevada-based shell company has filed a lawsuit against Foursquare, claiming the popular app is violating two patents that cover familiar navigation features.

In a complaint filed Wednesday in Las Vegas, Silver State Intellectual Technologies Inc asked for an injunction and damages related to U.S .Patent 7475057 (“System and method for user navigation”) and U.S. Patent 7343165 (“GPS Publication Application Server”).

Both patents describe the process of pushing information from a remote server to a user based on the location of that user and show diagrams like this one:

Silver State’s short legal filing (embedded below) doesn’t describe how exactly Foursquare infringed on the patent. The popular app relies on location tracking technology to offer a service that lets users and their friends “check in” to restaurants, merchants and other physical locations.

The lawsuit comes at a time when so-called patent trolls like Silver State have become aggressive about suing promising young…

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