Cellphone network upgrades make location tracking almost as precise as GPS
Advances in cellphone networks make a legal distinction between cellular location tracking through the network and through GPS increasingly obsolete, said cybersecurity researcher Matt Blaze during an April 25 congressional hearing.
Blaze, an associate professor of computer science at the University of Pennsylvania, testified before a House Judiciary subcommittee chaired by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) in the second in a series of hearings on the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986.
"Network-based geolocation can often be more revealing than GPS tracking," Blaze said in his written testimony (.pdf), noting the bandwidth demand-driven phenomenon of increasingly smaller cellphone tower service areas in highly populated places and the limited indoor reception of GPS signals.
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Image courtesy FCC.