Did you know that your cell phone carrier could track your whereabouts? We read about this in Newsweek. Basically, carriers like AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint have the capability to pinpoint your phone's location to areas as small as a city block. They can do it either through GPS units installed in the phone or by tracking the way your calls bounce off the towers. In some ways, this can be good. If something happens to you, police and other emergency officials can use your cell phone records to find you quickly. Also, it's a great way for the FBI and other law enforcement officials to keep track of criminals.
Jack Killorin, who directs a federal drug task force in Atlanta, says cell phone records helped his agents crack many cases. For example, cell phone records were used to determine that suspects in a murder case were within a mile of the crime scene when it happened. In fact, law enforcement officials use cell phone records so much these days that Sprint-Nextel set up a dedicated website for them, so police can access cell records from their desks.While it sounds like a good thing, there's a reason to be worried, too.
Officials don't have to notify you or get a warrant before snooping around your cell phone records. That's why several civil liberties groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, are suing the federal government to require them to have a very good reason, or probable cause, before they track your whereabouts through your cell phone. The groups want the court to send the message that innocent people shouldn’t have to feel like the government is watching them. The government, on the other hand, feels that people who don’t want their locations known shouldn’t use a cell phone.