tracking

Flaws Allow Every 3G Device To Be Tracked

That's the name of a story discussed over Slashdot this morning, Flaws Allow Every 3G Device To Be Tracked.

Their summary: "New privacy threats have been uncovered by security researchers that could allow every device operating on 3G networks to be tracked. The vulnerabilities could be exploited with cheap commercial off-the-shelf technology to reveal the location of phones and other 3G-capable devices operating on all 3G compliant networks. It was similar, but different, to previous research that demonstrated how attackers could redirect a victim's outgoing traffic to different networks."

Cellphones tracking is apparently a recurrent topic.

Starting Next Year, Brazil Wants To Track All Cars Electronically

That's the name of a story discussed over Slashdot, Starting Next Year, Brazil Wants To Track All Cars Electronically.

Their summary: "As of January, Brazil intends to put into action a new system that will track vehicles of all kinds via radio frequency chips. It will take a few years to accomplish, but authorities will eventually require all vehicles to have an electronic chip installed, which will match every car to its rightful owner. The chip will send the car's identification to antennas on highways and streets, soon to be spread all over the country. Eventually, it will be illegal to own a car without one. Besides real time monitoring of traffic conditions, authorities will be able to integrate all kinds of services, such as traffic tickets, licensing and annual taxes, automatic toll charge, and much more. Benefits also include more security, since the system will make it harder for thieves to run far away with stolen vehicles, much less leave the country with one."

Car tracking is a topic regularly discussed, even in a 2008 story about National Car Tracking System Proposed For US.

Cops' Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking Now Better Than GPS

I was away last week, I have a lot of geonews to catch up... I'll try to share them in the coming days.

This story was discussed over Slashdot during the last weekend, Cops' Warrantless Cell Phone Tracking Now Better Than GPS.

Their summary: "On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing to discuss a proposed bill to limit location tracking of electronic devices without a warrant — what it's calling the Geolocational Privacy and Surveillance Act, or the GPS Act. Ahead of that hearing, University of Pennsylvania computer science professor Matt Blaze submitted written testimony (PDF) telling Congress that phone carriers, as well as the law enforcement agencies with which they share data, can now use phones' proximity to cell towers and other sources of cellular data to track their location as precisely or even more precisely than they can with global positioning satellites. Thanks to the growing density of cell towers and the proliferation of devices like picocells and femtocells that transmit cell signals indoors, even GPS-less phones can be tracked with a high degree of precision and can offer data that GPS can't, like the location of someone inside a building or what floor they're on. With the GPS Act, Congress is considering expanding the ban on warrantless tracking of cars with GPS devices that the Supreme Court decided on in January. Blaze's testimony suggests they need to include non-GPS tracking of cell phones in that ban, a measure law enforcement agencies are strongly resisting."

After US v. Jones, FBI Turns Off 3,000 GPS Tracking Devices

Two days ago, Slashdot discussed a story named After US v. Jones, FBI Turns Off 3,000 GPS Tracking Devices.

Their summary: "The Supreme Court's recent ruling overturning the warrantless use of GPS tracking devices has caused a 'sea change' inside the U.S. Justice Department, according to FBI General Counsel Andrew Weissmann. Mr. Weissmann, speaking at a University of San Francisco conference called 'Big Brother in the 21st Century' on Friday, said that the court ruling prompted the FBI to turn off about 3,000 GPS tracking devices that were in use. These devices were often stuck underneath cars to track the movements of the car owners. In U.S. v. Jones, the Supreme Court ruled that using a device to track a car owner without a search warrant violated the law. After the ruling, the FBI had a problem collecting the devices that it had turned off, Mr. Weissmann said. In some cases, he said, the FBI sought court orders to obtain permission to turn the devices on briefly – only in order to locate and retrieve them."

Will this mean less GPS tracking stories in the future?

Indian Government To Track Locations of All Cell Phone Users

Yesterday Slashdot discussed a story named Indian Government To Track Locations of All Cell Phone Users.

Their summary: "As per amendments made to operators' licences, beginning May 31, operators would have to provide the Department of Telecommunications real-time details of users' locations in latitudes and longitudes. Documents obtained by The Indian Express show that details shall initially be provided for mobile numbers specified by the government. Within three years, service providers will have to provide information on locations of all users. The information will have some margin of error at first. But by 2013, at least 60 per cent of the calls in urban areas would have to be accurately tracked when made 100 metres away from the nearest cell tower. By 2014, the government will seek to increase the proportion to 75 per cent in cities and 50 per cent in suburban and rural areas."

Shopping Center Tracking System Condemned by Civil Rights Campaigners

Slashdot is discussing a story named Shopping Center Tracking System Condemned by Civil Rights Campaigners.

Their summary: "Civil rights campaigners have spoken out against a technology used by several shopping centers in the UK to track consumers using their mobile signals. The shopping centers claim that the technology helps them provide better services to consumers and retailers without compromising privacy. The system, called the Footpath, allows them to know how people are spending time in a shopping center, which spots they visit the most and even the route they take while walking around. Several consumer and civil rights groups, including Big Brother Watch, say consumers must be given a choice on whether they want their movement tracked or not."

See this story and the related links for numerous previous similar stories.

U.S. Judge Doesn't Care About Supreme Court GPS Case

First, happy 2012 to everyone! :-)

Slashdot is running a discussion named Judge Doesn't Care About Supreme Court GPS Case.

Their summary: "The Supreme Court is currently deciding whether or not law enforcement needs a warrant before they put a GPS tracker on a person's car. A judge in St. Louis doesn't seem to care about that, though. He ruled last week (PDF) that the FBI didn't need a warrant to track the car of a state employee they suspected was collecting a paycheck without actually going to work. (Their suspicions were confirmed.) While in favor of corrupt government employees being caught, it's a bit disturbing that a federal judge would decide a warrant wasn't needed while the Supreme Court has said the issue is unclear."

Malls Track Shoppers' Cell Phones On Black Friday

Not the first time this type of activity is mentioned here, and Slashdot discusses it in this story named Malls Track Shoppers' Cell Phones On Black Friday.

Their summary: "The management company of both malls, Forest City Commercial Management, says personal data is not being tracked. 'We won't be looking at singular shoppers,' said Stephanie Shriver-Engdahl, vice president of digital strategy for Forest City. 'The system monitors patterns of movement. We can see, like migrating birds, where people are going to.' Still, the company is preemptively notifying customers by hanging small signs around the shopping centers. Consumers can opt out by turning off their phones."

Streamline Postal And Courier Services With Global Postal Codes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Streamline Postal And Courier Services With Global Postal Codes

November 15, 2011, Toronto, Canada, NAC Geographic Products Inc. announced the release of NAC Sorter - a software module for mail sorting systems to sort all mail automatically from world level to final household mail boxes, thanks to the power of the Universal Address (also called the Global Postal Code).

Though it has been a long time effort of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) to standardize mailing addresses for international mail, it has little success as traditional addresses evolved from history have deep roots in languages and cultures and are difficult to be translated into standard addresses in the UPU suggested formats, not to mention that 60% of the world population do not have addresses yet.These lead to limited automation in mail sorting and no postal and courier services to many households.

This situation now can be changed with the introduction of the Universal Address that can be used to globalize all addresses. The Universal Address is a highly efficient and human-friendly code mathematically equivalent to longitude/latitude coordinates and available at every location in the world, including locations of all houses, buildings and even temporary camps, and can be instantly obtained with a GPS device such as a smartphone or an online high resolution satellite image map such as NAC Locator. Here are some examples of the Universal Addresses:

NAC: JZ9G P9TP (Acropolis, Greece)
NAC: H5SX R497 (Arch of Triumph, Paris, France)
NAC: 9F3J L1PL (Arecibo Observatory, Puerto Rico)
NAC: GZM7 RKH3 (Buckingham Palace, UK)
NAC: 57WF NSBR (CACTUS Site, USA)
NAC: 8CHZ Q86C (CN Tower, Toronto, Canada)
NAC: J16W PZFH (Colosseum, Rome, Italy)
NAC: H5Q2 R48Q (Eiffel Tower, Paris, France)
NAC: SNZ PMK (Forbidden City, Beijing, China)
NAC: J3 RQ (Berlin, Germany)

Here NAC stands for Natural Area Code, a four character NAC represents a 30x24 square kilometer area like a city, a six character NAC represents roughly a square kilometer like a street block, an eight character one a 35x25 square meter area like a house and a ten character one is one square meter like a door anywhere on the earth. Since an eight or ten character NAC is able to uniquely specify a house or building anywhere in the world, it is also called a Universal Address.

Sorting mail based on the Universal Address is just a simple mathematical problem: finding the area containing the location of the Universal Address from a series of areas defined by the company according to its own transportation and delivery structure, which is independent from languages, cultures and the definition of the postal zones.

For countries with traditional addresses, the suggested globalized address is the traditional address embedded with the Universal Address, for example,

〒106-0031
日本国東京都港区西麻布3-16-30
NAC: VM9F NX8Q

Thus, it avoids the difficult translation of the address so that people used to the tranditional address can still use it as usual, while machines, tourists and people unfamiliar with the language and the traditional address can use the language-independent digital Universal Address as it has a distinct format and can be easily recognized no matter where it is embedded in the address block.

For countries without traditional addresses, the globalized address can be the Universal Address only or the place names plus the Universal Address such as:

سفارة كاليفورنيا
ربع الدبلوماسية
الرياض، المملكة العربية السعودية
NAC: LVK1 M3D7

Then, all homes in the world have their own globalized addresses. With the globalized addresses on mail and parcels,

  1. all houdeholds, cottages and even temporary camps in the world can get postal and courier services delivered to their doors no matter whether they have traditional addresses or not as they can be uniquely specified by Universal Addresses.
  2. all international mail and parcels can be automatically sorted as the Universal Addresses are worldwide valid.
  3. all courier companies can sort and transport parcels according to their own needs without concerns in changes of postal codes due to the changes of postal services, thanks to the independency of the Universal Addresses from postal services.
  4. mail and parcels in all countries, especially those without postal code systems or without address systems can be sorted automatically, thanks to the pure mathematic sorting algorithm of the Universal Addresses independent from languages and cultures.
  5. postal and courier companies can extend the automation in mail sorting all the way to final mail boxes of individual houses, thanks to the unique Universal Addresses available to all households in the world.

"The release of NAC Sorter represents another milestone in the digital and globalization revolution, " said Dr. Xinhang Shen, president of NAC Geographic Products Inc., "Postal and courier companies now can automatically sort all mail and parcels at all levels with the same algorithm based on the same kind of codes no matter where they are and no matter where the mail and parcels are sent to, eliminating barriers from hundreds of different languages, traditions, postal code systems of the addresses."

Actually, Universal Addresses can be used for all location related applications (postal and couriers services, taxi services, emergency services, maps, navigation, local search, travel guides, geographic information systems, cadastre, land planning, management of roadside objects, etc) with significantly improved efficiency, interoperability and reliability. For example, if you use the Universal Address instead of the traditional address to specify the destination on a navigation system, you can save 80% of key input, avoid difficulty in inputting foreign characters if it is a foreign address, eliminate errors from the outdated, duplicated or missing address and extend the navigation to locations without traditional addresses.

Currently, NAC Sorter is delivered as an ActiveX control for Microsoft Windows based mail sorting software and has been released to two major manufacturers for the integration with their mail sorting systems. We also welcome other manufacturers of mail sorting systems to do the integration to speed up the revolution of the postal and courier services in the world. The software module can be downloaded here. For more information about NAC Sorter, please check http://www.nacgeo.com/nacsorter.asp.

About NAC Geographic Products Inc.
Incorporated in 1995 in Toronto, Canada, NAC Geographic Products Inc. is a world's leading company in geographic technologies and geo-services, developing GIS/GPS software products and providing APIs for real-time geo-services (geocoding addresses, reverse-geocoding, mapping, routing, etc.) for web applications and wireless location based services, etc.

CONTACT
Lixin Zhou
PR Manager
Tel: +1 416 496 6110
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.nacgeo.com

Keywords
Mail Sorting, Postal Code, Postcode, Globap Postal Code, Universal Address, Natural Area Code, NAC, NAC Locator, Google Maps, Satellite Image Maps, Local Search, Navigation, Search Engine, Mapping, Street Address, Geocode, Geocoding, LBS, GPS, Location Based Service, Locating, Tracking, Searching, Wireless, Cellphone, Map Grid, Geography, Geographic Technology, Geographic Coordinates, Longitude, Latitude, Property Identifier, Emergency Service, 911

Two New U.S. Fed GPS Trackers Found On SUV

Discussed this afternoon over Slashdot, Two New Fed GPS Trackers Found On SUV.

Their summary: "As the Supreme Court gets ready to hear oral arguments in a case Tuesday that could determine if authorities can track U.S. citizens with GPS vehicle trackers without a warrant, a young man in California has come forward to Wired to reveal that he found not one but two different devices on his vehicle recently. The 25-year-old resident of San Jose, California, says he found the first one about three weeks ago on his Volvo SUV while visiting his mother in Modesto, about 80 miles northeast of San Jose. After contacting Wired and allowing a photographer to snap pictures of the device, it was swapped out and replaced with a second tracking device. A witness also reported seeing a strange man looking beneath the vehicle of the young man’s girlfriend while her car was parked at work, suggesting that a tracking device may have been retrieved from her car. Then things got really weird when police showed up during a Wired interview with the man."

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