All Articles Tagged "tracking software"
(AJC) — For job hunters, the stagnant economy isn’t the only hurdle to finding work. These days, your comments or photos on Facebook and other online venues — and those of your friends — could be painting you as an immature party animal, or worse, to potential employers. A substantial number of companies now troll blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Craigslist, LinkedIn and other Internet sites to hunt for job candidates and to screen them, according to several surveys. The trend is likely to keep growing as the Web does. And do-it-yourself efforts by employers are being reinforced by at least one young company that’s now offering employment screening services that dig deeply into social media networks. Social Intelligence Corp., based in Santa Barbara, Calif., checks to see if would-be hires have engaged in inappropriate or questionable behavior, such as posting sexually explicit photos of themselves online, using illegal drugs or making racist remarks.
by R. Asmerom
By now, you might’ve heard about the stolen laptop that was recovered by vigilante justice and the phone tracking device called Prey. If anything, the story of Sean Power and how he got back his stolen laptop is a great reminder to all of us to protect our expensive tech wares.
The story goes that Power, who had the tracking device already installed on his laptop, used it to locate his stolen laptop at a bar in downtown Manhattan. Although he had the location and the name of the person who was using his laptop (he was able to access that info when the user signed in to different websites), the police would not act on the information since he did not file a police report.
A friend’s laptop was also stolen recently and although she was able to track down its whereabouts, the police refused to act on it since they could not prove if it was stolen or found after it went missing.
In any case, Power tweeted to his followers who were near the bar. One of his buddies eventually snatched back the laptop, without any resistance.
So you may not have the law on your side but you sure can get defensive by installing a tracking device. It seems like the only way to be safe these days is by giving up more of your personal freedoms, doesn’t it?
The enigmatic dictator of the totalitarian regime featured in the George Orwell novel and movie, “1984,” may only seem like an imagined conspiracy; but, as our government and other entities begin using more technology to track citizens and their movements, you have to wonder if we are trading in our right to privacy for the latest and greatest in new technology.
For instance, last week the Obama administration petitioned the Supreme Court to review a case that would allow the government, without a court warrant, to affix GPS devices on a suspect’s vehicle in order to track their every move until they commit a crime. Yes, that’s right. The government wants to play Tom Cruise in “Minority Report” and nail you for crimes that you haven’t even committed yet.
The request stems from a 2001 case in which Antoine Jones, a D.C. nightclub owner and suspected cocaine dealer, was tracked for an entire month without a warrant. Authorities used the information collected from the GPS surveillance to create probable cause and obtain warrants to search and find drugs in location where Jones had been. Jones was sentenced to life in prison because of this information.
However, a D.C. Court of Appeals overturned Jones’ conviction, saying that the use of a secret GPS tracking device on his vehicle for one month violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. But now the Justice Department is demanding that the Supreme Court reverse the Appeals decision, suggesting that “a person has no reasonable expectation of privacy in his movement from one place to another” in a public setting.
As technology becomes more pervasive in society, so will issues of privacy and police surveillance. Although the Fourth Amendment protects the right to privacy and the right to freedom from arbitrary invasion, there isn’t a clear definition as to whether or not this constitutional right extends to new technologies. As such, government agencies, as well as local authorities, have used technology to build criminal drug and terrorism cases. After September 11th, Congress and former President Bush enacted legislation, including the U.S. Patriot Act, to allow law enforcement to search e-mail and telephone communications, in addition to medical, financial and library records.
But these acts have not come without its complications—in March, a suit was brought against the FBI by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who claimed that the FBI illegally used a GPS tracking device to track the movements of a California Muslim student. Recently, controversy erupted over the Michigan State Police’s use of handheld gadgets, known as an “extraction device,” which can lift every lick of data from a mobile phone.
But it’s not just law enforcement that’s been using GPS for surveillance. The private sector has also been using GPS to track employees, such as truck drivers and postal workers. This new form of shadowing has become easier thanks in part to devices like smartphones, which are being equipped with a chip that could be tracking a user’s location and data without them even knowing it. With the omnipresence of license plate readers by parking authorities, and video cameras with face-recognition technology affixed to light poles in heavily crime ridden areas, we’ve been turned into a society of around the clock surveillance.
With the Justice Department’s use of dragnet surveillance of millions of Americans, corporations using similar tactics on their own employees and the persistent use of cell phones by ordinary citizens, it is clear that our collective freedom to privacy is being usurped by our need to build and use technology, which knows no limits. As we enter this new age of transparency, it’s important that we also maintain our respect for our individual civil liberties. If not, than we might as well local the doors, pull the curtains in and wait for Skynet to fully be enacted.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
(Wall Street Journal) — Major websites are moving to limit the number of tracking technologies like “cookies” spreading on their sites, hoping to keep lucrative data about visitors for themselves—and avoid privacy risks. More sites are counting the number of tracking tools—software that can clandestinely monitor people’s activities online—that are being installed on the computers of people who visit the sites. A few sites have dropped companies that install tracking tools, due to practices they consider intrusive. Other Internet publishers want to sell more ads themselves, relying less on online ad networks that install tracking software. Many Web publishers are finding that tracking software is operating on their sites without their knowledge. Some worry they are missing out on an opportunity, since others are profiting by selling data about the sites’ users for ad-targeting purposes.