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Homeland Security Starts Citywide Cellphone Tracking Project In Seattle, Your Town Will Be Next

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 If you’re walking around downtown Seattle, look up: You’ll see off-white boxes, each one about a foot tall with vertical antennae, attached to utility poles. If you’re walking around downtown while looking at a smartphone, you will probably see at least one—and more likely two or three—Wi-Fi networks named after intersections: “4th&Seneca,” “4th&Union,” “4th&University,” and so on. That is how you can see the Seattle Police Department’s new wireless mesh network, bought from a California-based company called Aruba Networks, whose clients include the Department of Defense, school districts in Canada, oil-mining interests in China, and telecommunications companies in Saudi Arabia.

How accurately can it geo-locate and track the movements of your phone, laptop, or any other wireless device by its MAC address (its “media access control address”—nothing to do with Macintosh—which is analogous to a device’s thumbprint)? Can the network send that information to a database, allowing the SPD to reconstruct who was where at any given time, on any given day, without a warrant? Can the network see you now?

The SPD declined to answer more than a dozen questions from The Stranger, including whether the network is operational, who has access to its data, what it might be used for, and whether the SPD has used it (or intends to use it) to geo-locate people’s devices via their MAC addresses or other identifiers.

Seattle Police detective Monty Moss, one of the leaders of the mesh-network project—one part of a $2.7 million effort, paid for by the Department of Homeland Security—wrote in an e-mail that the department “is not comfortable answering policy questions when we do not yet have a policy.” But, Detective Moss added, the SPD “is actively collaborating with the mayor’s office, city council, law department, and the ACLU on a use policy.”

The ACLU, at least, begs to differ: “Actively collaborating” is not how they would put it. Jamela Debelak, technology and liberty director of the Seattle office, says the ACLU submitted policy-use suggestions months ago and has been waiting for a response. source – Seattle Stranger



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    Total 32 comments
    • TombRaider

      Just more of George Orwell’s 1984…..

      • Cagle

        Nope, just more paranoid delusions… MAC address and IP address aren’t unique to an individual so really you guys are just stroking yourselves… Nice try with the fear propaganda.

        • William

          Good morning, Mister Cagle.

        • JustAComment

          You can indeed be tracked by your IP address with a little cooperation from your ISP. Your ISP is probably already a Homeland Security whore, some of the biggest communications companies plugged into by the government. Such as the NSA couldn’t do what they’re doing, without bulk access to all the data. Your device MAC address can be queried and is unique to your hardware. While I’m not paranoid, have nothing to hide, government abuse in the future is always a consideration to a society.

          To ensure anonymity, you must dispense with the device: leave it home, or take the battery out, though turning on your device remotely, in spite of your turning it off, isn’t a 1984 sort of concern, as it’s only done by government hacking special cases they’re after. In this event, they’re after you, and you have more to worry about than whether your portable device is helping them, I take it won’t be going home, either. (The point they can’t be after everybody at once, hacking and turning on everybody’s device all the time, putting agents on all people with smartphones. This is senseless, impossible, and paranoia.)

          If you’re a criminal, make sure your portable device is on and charged, realizing, in the above, I was just joking. Your service provider has no idea who’s connected to them. But you’re a wise guy and already know this.

        • obamasuxs

          Mac addresses are unique to each cellphone. You can buy a system to track people in your store here.

        • JustAComment

          And the government, as it stands, would be in real real trouble if it were dogging everybody’s smartphones, to the point people refused to use them, for displeasure over Big Brother. The communications hardware and services companies would turn their creatures in Washington over their knees, forget that reelection, if it were to kill the goose laying the golden eggs. It’s like that scene from Dr. Strangelove,

          Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Colonel… that Coca-Cola machine. I want you to shoot the lock off it. There may be some change in there.

          Colonel “Bat” Guano: That’s private property.

          Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: Colonel! Can you possibly imagine what is going to happen to you, your frame, outlook, way of life, and everything, when they learn that you have obstructed a telephone call to the President of the United States? Can you imagine? Shoot it off! Shoot! With a gun! That’s what the bullets are for, you twit!

          Colonel “Bat” Guano: Okay. I’m gonna get your money for ya. But if you don’t get the President of the United States on that phone, you know what’s gonna happen to you?

          Group Capt. Lionel Mandrake: What?

          Colonel “Bat” Guano: You’re gonna have to answer to the Coca-Cola company.

        • Snobert

          That may have been true during the olden days of Dial-Up, but it certainly isn’t true in the new age of high speed Internet connections such as DSL, WI-Fi, and 4G. When we had Dial-Up, IP addresses changed everytime you logged into the Internet, but every individual account is now assigned a permanent IP address that can be traced to the name registered to the account simply by Big Brother Enforcement (BBE) contacting your ISP. As for MAC numbers, they can get the name/street address associated with the mobile phone in question by contacting the phone’s manufacturer. Nobody who posseses at least basic computer literacy should be quick to call this story paranoia unless he/she is in denial.

      • Scout88

        Here is substantial evidence supporting your comment & proving who’s behind it…

        CGI employee, Barbara Fast, speaking for – The director of the National Security Agency, Gen. Keith B. Alexander…

        CGI employee speaking in video above…

        “That is how you can see the Seattle Police Department’s new wireless mesh network, bought from a California-based company called Aruba Networks”…

        Note that CGI own Logica…

        CGI are key partners with Bell & most telecoms…

        “The RCMP is eyeing creation of a national fleet of small helicopter-like drones with cameras”…

        …The evidence supports CGI wants to be EVERYONE’S new “BIG BROTHER”!

    • Matibob

      Time to use these as target practice!

      • Sailor72

        I agree Matibob–Past time to start using the 2nd amendment.

      • RobiMac

        Don’t take your cell with ya.

        • energymight

          Or take it with you, but remove the battery when not using it. That would maybe even confuse the grid even more. You’re there, then you are gone, then you are back on the other side of town……..then – gone again!!! Hahahaha!!

    • GK

      ROFL. You mean those wifi networks you use to connect to the internet? Don’t use them then, dumbass.

    • Cagle

      What a freaking joke this is. MAC address and IP addresses aren’t unique to an individual. You can’t be tracked… it’s plain and simple…

      How many times has a cop pulled you over because they could geo-locate your phone?

      ConWars is destroying Journalism with their fear propaganda.

      You guys need to wake the hell up and get your paranoid head out of your sycophant arses…

      • JustAComment

        Maybe you shouldn’t be so rude, when, guess what? You’re wrong, 100%. It can be embarrassing, if, in fact, you have a problem with your own head being obscured where the sun doesn’t shine. As a matter of fact, GPS tracking could track the very location you plant your somewhat poorly informed, yet rudely arrogant arse.

      • Price of Freedom

        Cagle you are extremely uneducated because most of us know that we can be tracked by our IP addresses hence I got rid of my phone some time ago. I hope your not someones tech because you SUCK at it, you know nothing :P

    • Anonymous

      Nicely colour coordinated to blend in with the hood…. Don’t forget to take out the battery in your cell phone before entering the area when intending to be up to no good. Don’t forget to put it back when leaving area or your dealer will be worried about you.(grin)

    • greenghost

      I wasn’t aware they could track you by wi-fi device if your not connected to the wi-fi device.

      • RobiMac

        You’d be surprised what they can track you with. I know they use Onstar. Even more scary, I heard they can control your brake and gas peddles even if you do not subscribe. So, the only thing you can do to fix that is disconnect it. You will find the connection behind the rear view mirror. Uh oh, they just seen me tell you. Now I’m in trouble.

    • Anonymous

      Trackability in Internet and of smartphones cannot be stopped. We´ve got to live with this progress in technology and accept both its good and bad aspects. You can´t “uninvent” wireless communication,

      • Anonymous

        While we can’t “uninvent” technology, we can certainly determine who has access to our information. I would wager that a bunch of .22 LR rounds would take care of the problem at a nominal cost.

        Furthermore, one can always leave his ‘phone/device at home, especially when on a “.22 LR” mission.

        • JOYCE

          Anonymous, Have you read/hear of how hard it is to purchase the .22 LR bullets these days?
          I have also learned (from the same reliable source) that the gov.’t is making it more difficult to purchase ‘other’ kind of ammo. NO BIG SURPRISE THERE, HUH??

        • thunderstone

          oh good grief !!

          Why is this a bad idea


          Because the cops (even the dumb ones) are definitely going to outsmart you ! Just trust me .. bad idea !!

    • JOYCE


    • tsimitpo

      They actually had a couple short mentions of this on the local nightly newscast (ABC affiliate KOMO), saying the federal government gave them the money earmarked for this purchase and installation, but that they weren’t in use yet. This was a couple months ago and originating out of the city of Alki (West Seattle). Knowing the way a lot of this NSA-type stuff works, the back door operates regardless of whether the city is using the devices or not.

    • thunderstone

      Ha … too funny !! Pop used to say “consider the source” and the source for this is ..

      “The Stranger” – written by and for inner city left wing homosexuals who eat drama porn like Halloween candy.

      I aint sayin they’re bad people (well , some are) .. but the description is pretty accurate.

      but hey if you want to believe that they are watching you go ahead … maybe it will clear the streets and I can drive through downtown again … sheesh !

    • Jacksdad

      After realizing I’ve spent enough money on smart phones over the years to buy a new car practically, I’ve decided to go back to dumb phone as soon as this phone dies. Tired of giving away my privacy every time my phone needs to be updated and I’m sick and tired of stores or whomever tracking me as I go about my business. Even with the tracking off they sometimes find away to activate it, regardless of my consent or my knowledge. So next time you can go F yourself TMobile……..I’ll take the dumb phone with talk and text. You can stick the intrusive “smart phone” up your CEO’s ass.

    • V for Vendetta

      Now you see why Odumbutt and the rest of his little penis over controlling anus sucking Nazi minion are giving away free cell phones. They want everyone to have one so they can monitor everyone.

    • angel.bethany

      My roommate used to work in Modesto AT & T. He said that he could track his gf anytime by logging into his computer and going to a special site they had. He would love to tell her that he knew where she was and for the life of her she could never figure out how he knew. That was in 2005. This sounds very probable. They say gov’t is always 30 years in advance of what we know. Maybe this is part of the reason why old cell phones are becoming so valuable. Maybe they don’t have the tracking devices on them and need to all be destroyed?

    • W. Willow

      Besides cell phones being my social pet peeve, they are helping kill the environment and slowly killing people. They are plain rude and a danger in traffic. No one has to plan ahead or be accurate anymore. You don’t get announcements or invitations if you don’t have one.

      If they start using drones on US citizens, that would be a good time to pitch it. They’ve already shown us in the movies.

    • FarmerX

      In Linux, root users can spoof they’re MAC addresses, heads up!

    • Zionist infiltration

      That’s it, I’m calling Homeland security on their arses.

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