An Analysis of Cell Phone Technology, Security, and Individual Rights

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An Analysis of Cell Phone Technology, Security, and Individual Rights

In this technology driven era, I question what effect cell phones are having on our lives as American citizens? To investigate this, I read two articles. The first reading was “Mobile Phone Tracking Scrutinized” by Nikki Swartz originally published in the Information Management Journal for March/April 2006, and the second reading was “Reach out and Track Someone” by Terry J. Allen, originally published by In These Times on May 15, 2006. In her article, Swartz questions the legality of using a cell phone’s GPS system as a tracking device in situations when crimes are involved. She argues the potential violation of Fourth Amendment rights and describes loopholes our …show more content…

She is concerned about defining the line where obtaining the data becomes relevant and material to the ongoing investigation in comparison to just probable cause. In contrast, Allen’s passion is to protect citizen’s privacy. She is eager to blame capitalism of the telecom companies. Allen presents a good argument about a case when a young woman was murdered and the cell phone tracking record of the suspect’s activities on the night of the murder, led to his arrest, not an actual call. She also has difficulty with the Justice Department warrantless wiretapping because getting a search warrant can mean dangerous delays (p1). Her concern is that the government can track a cell phone anywhere, even if not during an actual call. Swartz and Allen both question how much information cell phone companies should store. Swartz seems to appear more accepting of its use where Allen fears the location information can be released easily, possible without regard to privacy. I find Allen’s view almost entirely negative. She is upset the average consumer is unaware the telecommunications companies unjustly share information with the government. When information is stored by email on a cell phone, more than just a person’s whereabouts can be traced. Allen doesn’t mention any cases where cell phone tracking data was used to prevent harm

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