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Tracking everywhere: Private companies offer worldwide spying tools

Virtually all cell phones on Earth can be geographically pinpointed with the right technology, a new report suggests, and the tools that enable this tracking are becoming increasingly all too affordable. Products that can locate a handhold phone within a city block from any corner of the globe are nothing new — the intelligence documents disclosed by former United States government contractor Edward Snowden last year have proved that the US National Security Agency is in the business of not just finding cellphones, but eavesdropping on those call and sometimes even infecting those devices. According to a report published this Monday in the Washington Post, however, governments around the globe no longer need entities like the NSA or its British counterpart, the GCHQ, to carry out some of these operations. Post journalist Craig Timberg wrote this week that a method of surveillance that allows a targeted device to be located from thousands of miles away is cheaper than ever, and it poses a problem for the privacy of people the world over. “The technology works by exploiting an essential fact of all cellular networks: They must keep detailed, up-to-the-minute records on the locations of their customers to deliver calls and other services to them,” Timberg wrote. “Surveillance systems are secretly collecting these records to map people’s travels over days, weeks or longer, according to company marketing documents and experts in surveillance technology.” via RT USA.

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