See also this earlier Surveillance post.
Britain’s largest police force is using software that can map nearly every move suspects and their associates make in the digital world, prompting an outcry from civil liberties groups.
The Metropolitan police has bought Geotime, a security programme used by the US military, which shows an individual’s movements and communications with other people on a three-dimensional graphic. It can be used to collate information gathered from social networking sites, satellite navigation equipment, mobile phones, financial transactions and IP network logs.
Police have confirmed its purchase and declined to rule out its use in investigating public order disturbances.
Campaigners and lawyers have expressed concern at how the software could be used to monitor innocent parties such as protesters in breach of data protection legislation.
Alex Hanff, the campaigns manager at Privacy International, called on the police to explain who will decide how this software will be used in future.
“Once millions and millions of pieces of microdata are aggregated, you end up with this very high-resolution picture of somebody, and this is effectively what they are doing here.”
Related: Cellphones to get disaster alerts
There will be at least three levels of messages, ranging from a critical national alert from the president to warnings about impending or occurring national disasters to alerts about missing or abducted children. People will be able to opt out of receiving all but the presidential alerts.
A special chip is required to allow a phone to receive the messages, and soon all new phones will have the technology. Some smartphones already have the chip, and software updates will be available when the network goes online later this year, Genachowski said.
I’m pretty sure you don’t need a special chip to receive text messages. So what does it really do?