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Can Anyone Track Your Phone Across the Globe? Geolocation Company Makes it Possible


"The capability of mass tracking is possible."

Wired is reporting on a somewhat under-the-radar company called TruePosition that sells technology enabling highly accurate tracking of cellphones to anyone, anywhere with enough cash to pay for it.

Based out of Pennsylvania, the company's technology has highly beneficial applications for law enforcement and other emergency personnel, and is already in widespread use by those entities in the US. It provides LOCINT- Locational Intelligence, in emergency situations to within 50 meters based on the positioning of your phone to nearby cellular towers. So if your car flips over late at night, you are trapped, and can't reach your phone- police can find you and possibly save your life. According to Wired, TruePosition locates about 60 million 911 calls each year. Fox News reported on its role in 911 tracking back in 2009.

One prospective use of the  technology is to create a so-called "GeoFence," which the TruePosition touts as tool for homeland security, described below in an exchange with Wired:

"An invisible barrier around sensitive sites like critical infrastructure, such as oil refineries or power plants...The barrier contains a list of known phones belonging to people who work there, allowing them to pass freely through the covered radius. If any phone enters that is not on the authorized list, [authorities] are immediately notified.”

The concern regarding this remarkable technology is that TruePosition has entered the national security market on an international scale-a development that has people worried about who will use it, and why. As Wired lays out the issue, we must ask the question:

"What if the governments using TruePosition’s gear aren’t so scrupulous about following laws, or respecting the civil liberties of their citizens?... If, say, Syria’s Bashar Assad had TruePosition’s technology, could he use it to determine who’s participating in anti-government protests?"

TruePosition recognizes the implications of its technology abroad, and tries to stay under the radar, possibly to avoid bad publicity in the event an authoritarian regimes uses its product to root out dissidents or quash a revolt in a sweep of violence. But even if that were to happen, the company would likely point out that other similar technologies are already in play for rogue states and evil dictators. If the technology were banned for sale to certain countries, straw buyers would seem to easily circumvent the restrictions. And privacy laws are different country to country.

Here is TruePosition's Director of Marketing Brian Varano, giving an overview of the technology, and notably assessing that location based services will be worth an estimated $13 billion in 2014.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/enoOSLTUmAY?version=3&hl=en_US expand=1]

Regardless of the pros and cons, we know this much- the technology to track your phone within 150 feet is available on the open market to anyone willing to pay- for better or worse.

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