Court GPS Tracker Decision May Reach Cell Phones
When a case involving law enforcement who equipped a suspected drug dealer’s automobile with a GPS tracker went to the Supreme Court, gadget enthusiasts, police agencies and privacy advocates all waited and stood by with a watchful eye. That is because the decision, whichever way it was decided, was believed by many to be ground-breaking, and precedent setting for years to come. What the Supreme Court Justices proclaimed in a closely decided 5-4 vote was that police would not be given the freedom to place a GPS vehicle tracker on a vehicle without first obtaining permission in the form of a warrant. Basically, the decision stated that police would not be allowed to track or monitor any person. But if it is not acceptable for police to monitor private citizen activity, why is it still okay for businesses to monitor people? Everyday people use their mobile phones to send text messages, get directions using navigation mobile apps, play games, social network and of course send and receive phone calls. Mobile technology is useful, time saving and literally makes life and communication a litter easier. Unfortunately, mobile phones are also treasure chests of personal information and that private data has significant value to many companies. This is because mobile phones collect locational data of everywhere a person goes, cookies store the favorite websites a person enjoys and so much more. This data can help businesses better target market but shouldn’t a person have ownership of their own personal data? Shouldn’t they have the ability to veto a third party agency purchasing their personal information? Sadly, these questions will continue to go unanswered for some time because businesses really only care about profit and if they can sell personal data acquired from mobile users using their services why would they stop the revenue stream? Only time will tell if lawmakers will step in and set boundaries and privacy guidelines when it comes to harvesting data from mobile phone users, and it is very possible that the Supreme Court GPS tracking ruling could be used as some sort of precedent if a trial reaches that level. Are you okay with mobile phone companies, service providers and app makers having access to the locational and private data stored upon your smart phone?