Cell Phone Locator, Privacy issue?

by Mr. Polidico on July 1, 2007

I was subtly shocked to read this email from a sibling this morning. Anyone else see the very serious privacy issues this letter brings about?

“I called my cell phone company and was assured there is no negative consequence…”

Subject: Fw: Cell Phone Locator
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2007 09:05:41 -0500

I wasn’t aware of this. My phone was on 911 only, so I changed it to Location On. Hope my family never needs to use it!

Subject: Cell Phone Locator

You may remember that a young woman was recently abducted from a Target parking lot in Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City. Her body was discovered many miles away in Missouri. They were able to locate her by the sequence of cell phone towers that picked up her cell phone location. She had not attempted to dial out, but when her family was trying to call her the towers could sense her phone.

Sadly, the authorities were not able to reach her in time.

However, they were able to locate her body which was in an area where they never would have searched without the cell phone tower information.

Below is information from my daughter-in-law who lives in Kansas City.

The cell phone “locator” can be either set on “E911″ in which case you must dial out to be located, or it can be set to be on all the time. I called my cell phone company and was assured there is no negative consequence (like higher battery use) from having it on all the time. With it on all the time you can be located by emergency services through the police if you fail to respond (sick, injured, or worse).

“you can be located by [...] the police if you fail to respond…”

I think this is worth passing it on.

I found that on my phone “location” was not on. I turned it on so my phone can be traced. See below for more info that was sent to me by someone here at work:

On the radio today, they talked about a feature that ALL cell phones have. It’s called Location. It’s under the Settings tool. Once you turn this on, THEN your phone is traceable. To stay safe, everyone needs to check their phone and turn this on!!! Please pass the word to everyone you know.

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