• Supreme Court to rule on constitutionality of warrantless GPS tracking

    On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case (United States v. Jones) in which the United States argued that the Fourth Amendment does not prohibit the government from using GPS tracking to monitor a suspect’s movements on public streets. Some legal scholars say that because a previous verdict sanctioned beeper tracking, the Court may well rule in favor of the government, declaring the warrantless GPS tracking does not violate a person’s constitutional right to privacy.

  • Supreme Court to rule on age of "Big Brother" surveillance

    This November the Supreme Court is gearing up to hear a landmark case which will decide how far law enforcement agencies can pry into an individual’s private life; federal judges argue that the use of GPS surveillance by law enforcement is an “Orwellian intrusion” into private life and violate the Fourth Amendment; meanwhile police say GPS tracking is simply a more efficient way to tail a suspect’s car or track their movements, things they can currently do without a warrant

  • State Department to begin tracking its personnel

    The U.S. State Department will soon be able to track the movement of its staff as they conduct diplomatic missions in dangerous areas in countries like Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan; using the Blue Force Tracker system, the State Department will be able to monitor its personnel’s movements via a small transmitter attached to a vehicle, aircraft, or a person

  • Supreme Court to hear GPS tracking case

    The 220-year old Fourth Amendment to the Constitution offers protection against unreasonable searches; the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case involving the police secretly attaching a GPS device to a suspect’s car to monitor his movement; the question before the Court: does the secret placement of a GPS device on a suspect’s car in order to keep tabs on him for an extended period of time require a search warrant

  • China installs covert spy devices on Hong Kong cars

    A Chinese newspaper recently revealed that China has been installing spying devices on cars in Hong Kong for years, creating a vast eavesdropping network across the island; the recording devices were installed as “inspection and quarantine cards” beginning in July 2007 on all vehicles that had dual Chinese and Hong Kong license plates; it is estimated that at least 20,000 cars and tens of thousands of trucks and buses in Hong Kong have dual license plates

  • APDN helps prevent government use of fake microchips

    Applied DNA Sciences Inc. (APDN) recently announced that it is working with the U.S. government to prevent the use of counterfeit microchips in mission-critical hardware that can lead to potential life-threatening equipment failures; the company is launching a pilot program in conjunction with the government that is designed to ensure that phony microchips do not enter critical supply chains; with the growth of outsourcing and global production chains, pirated microchips have begun appearing in everything from cell phones to fighter jets; the New York based firm specializes in the development of plant based DNA markers that can be safely inserted into any material to ensure its authenticity

  • Network-based tracking, an alternative to GPS

    With improvements in network-based tracking police and first responders now have a reliable alternative to GPS tracking when searching for suspects or responding to 9-1-1 emergencies; using signals from cell phone towers to triangulate a phone’s location, network-based tracking has steadily improved and in some regards surpassed GPS-tracking; unlike GPS-tracking, network-based solutions cannot be jammed by a user and law enforcement officers do not need to carry any additional equipment; with network-based tracking police can find an individual’s position within fifty meters using data from cell phone towers; despite improvements in network-based tracking, the system is not perfect and GPS still has many strengths

  • Google joins Apple in privacy furor

    iPhones transmit locations back to Apple, and Apple is not alone in this activity; Google has disclosed that its Android cell phones have been transmitting location data for some time; members of the Congress and Senate have begun to demand answers and explanations

  • Cell phone privacy

    Apple faces questions about an undisclosed, hidden geographical tracking file in its 3G products; the existence of the system was included in an operating system update downloaded and installed by users; a free mapping program can be downloaded to view your own history

  • Hi-tech goggles to reduce number of friendly fire incidents

    The modern battle-field is saturated with autonomous, remotely controlled platforms and weapons, and everything moves very fast; in addition, many of the engagements take place in close quarters; all these increase the risk of friendly fire; DARPA wants a small New York company to develop augmented reality goggles which will tell soldiers on the ground which air assets are nearby, bearing which weapons, thus resulting in more accurate destruction of enemy assets, less risk to friendly forces, and fewer civilian deaths

  • Society over-reliant on vulnerable satnav systems

    A new report warns that society has become “dangerously over-reliant” on satellite navigation systems, just two weeks after such a system was declared safe for guiding aircraft from space; the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS) works through a network of forty ground stations that gather positional data from the U.S.-run Global Positioning System (GPS) and beams that up to transponders aboard three satellites in geostationary orbits over Europe (part of the planned Galileo system); the more precise, amalgamated data is then sent back down to receivers aboard aircraft or other vehicles

  • Using location-based services to protect infrastructure

    Location-based services (LBS) have enabled marketing firms to alert mobile phone users of nearest coffee shops and eateries as well as help phone owners find their geographical location on hand-held mapping devices; now, location based service enabled phones can help protect critical infrastructure facilities by alerting authorities about threats and giving them time to apprehend intruders

  • HTS has 50 percent of the cargo container monitoring system market

    In addition to monitoring cars on the road and in parking lots by reading these cars’ license plates, HTS’s systems are also in use at ports to track containers entering and exiting the facility by land and by sea; mounted on cranes and port gates, the system enables the identification of hundreds of thousands of cargo containers, and crosschecks them with their manifests to make sure they are being offloaded at the correct location and contain the right cargo

  • Miniature tracking chip offers high accuracy

    An Irish start-up has developed a tracking chip claimed to be more accurate and cost competitive than other comparable technologies such as RFID and Wi-Fi; the chip could be used for a variety of applications such as locating soldiers on the battlefield, tracking the movements of firemen in a burning building, or sourcing medical equipment in a hospital

  • Debate intensifies over warrantless GPS tracking devices

    A-20 year old student took his car for a routine oil change — and the mechanic servicing the car found a GPS device attached to it; the two took the device off; FBI agents visited the student two days later, demanding the return of their property; debate intensifies about whether or not GPS devices can be used to track people with a warrant issued by a court