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Tech Watch: Geo-Privacy Bills Aim To Curb Warrantless Tracking

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Global Positioning System tracking device

Global Positioning System tracking device (AP)

Brian Cooley’s Tech Watch
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(KCBS) – Lawmakers are considering proposals that would stop law enforcement agencies from using GPS devices to track people without getting a warrant first.

CNET Editor-at-Large Brian Cooley said these laws are going after a couple of things that were in the news recently. The iPhone is storing information about where you’ve been, plus Google phones are also keeping such a record.

“These laws would say access to that information in general can only be done with a warrant which is not the case right now. Your carrier may have that data from your phone and they didn’t need a warrant to get it,” Cooley explains.

People might not realize just how easy it is to be tracked right now. For example, people who use Google Maps may be creating a wi-fi trail.

There are so many ways law enforcement can consider using this information. They can go after your phone. And there are all kinds of ways your laptop or tablet will have your location information – basically anything that connects to a wi-fi hotspot let alone a cellular tower will leave its fingerprints about its geo-location.

“They can also buy inexpensive GPS trackers and stick them on a car or someone’s backpack and they will tell you where that person is,” Cooley adds.

You can hear his Tech Watch report Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:50 P.M. on KCBS All News 740AM and 106.9FM.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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