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U.K. Agency Tracking Cellphones and GPS Inside Cars

U.K. Agency Tracking Cellphones and GPS Inside Cars

"This yet another example of how our lives are being monitored at an extremely detailed level..."

Just last week TheBlaze reported about a man discovering that his E-Z Pass -- a device that allows for automatic toll payments -- was being read outside of toll booths for traffic monitoring purposes. Now, it is being revealed that a U.K. agency is accessing information from devices inside individuals' cars for similar reasons as well.

cellphone tracking The U.K.'s Highways Agency is obtaining information from data firms that is allowing it to track devices, like cellphones or GPS, movement in cars -- anonymously -- to evaluate traffic flow and congestion. (Photo: Shutterstock.com)

The Daily Telegraph reported that the U.K.'s Highways Agency is receiving information from cellphone companies and other data firms, like satellite navigation systems:

In the first trial, being conducted on the M25 and feeder routes such as parts of the M11, M4, A3 and A20, the agency uses data provided by mobile phone operators.

The companies track motorists by recording each time their handset moves into a different geographic mobile phone “cell”, typically an area of several square miles.

In the second trial, across the rest of the country, real-time “geolocation” data is being collected from signals generated by smartphone apps, satnav-type devices or vehicle tracking kits used by road haulage operators that work by GPS.

This information would be used to relay traffic and congestion information. The agency said any information it receives is anonymized, according to the Telegraph.

But privacy advocates feel the monitoring is intrusive.

"This yet another example of how our lives are being monitored at an extremely detailed level, and just how much of that data is being shared and sold on for a vast range of purposes," said Nick Pickles, director of the U.K.'s Big Brother Watch, according to the Telegraph.

"People will probably have no idea that this information is being used by the Highways Agency," he continued. "The question has to be asked if there is a less intrusive way to get this kind of data, and if it is so essential that it is so detailed as to require live data from the devices in people’s cars."

This news comes on the heels of it being revealed recycling bins were monitoring Londoners' phones.

Featured image via Shutterstock.com.



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