Saturday, March 6, 2010

Self Tracking

I still believe in privacy. I think it's important to be able to travel freely without anyone tracking your movements. If you can be tracked, you can be stopped. The Constitution guarantees freedom of travel. Exercise that freedom.

People pay a monthly fee for a tracking device that they willing carry with them. Thirty years ago people would have thought that idea was nuts. It's still nuts, but I'm pretty much alone with that idea now. Cell phones are that device. Sure, they can be convenient, but they do make it possible to keep track of your location.

I've a cheap pay-as-you-go cell phone, but since there is no cell service where I live, it's rarely on. Often when I leave the house, it doesn't come with me. Yep, I'm running around loose without an electronic leash. Just for grins and giggles, I've been known to travel the country with a cell phone off and enclosed in a metal box -no signal can get in or out. Once in a while I'll use it. So my cell phone trail would look something like this. It would appear for a bit in Virgina then disappear until Florida. It might pop up briefly in New Orleans, then not again until Kentucky. I might have been to Texas and New Mexico, but never used the phone in those places so there's no cell phone trail.

Every time I use my phone, I'm aware that I'm giving away my position. Not that it's any big deal. I've got nothing dastardly to hide. Still, I never lose sight of that fact the cell phone is a tracking device.

Of course, many people now post their every move through Facebook or Twitter. Being a private detective must be one of the easiest jobs in the world right now. Instead of hiding in the bushes and following a subject's movements, all they need it to read social media sites. Not only do people continually blab what they are doing, they are telling lots of personal information.

Here's another tracking device people actually pay money for -toll transponders. It sounds like a great idea -drive through toll booths without stopping to pay. When states set up these programs they usually offer steep discounts for buying into the system. After some time has passed those incentives quietly go away. At that point it's about the same as paying tolls in cash. Here's the thing, every time you go through a tool booth, there's a record.

Now I'm not being overly paranoid, just making people aware. Don't assume you have privacy. Should you ever have a reason to fly under the radar, it'll require some effort -perhaps a little personal inconvenience even. This is just a heads up -something to ponder.

I haven't even gotten into traffic cameras and computer privacy. Maybe we'll have some fun with those subjects later.


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