UW Privacy Office

September 1, 2022

Tech tool offers police ‘mass surveillance on a budget’

Source: Associated Press, Sept. 1, 2022
Article: Tech tool offers police ‘mass surveillance on a budget’
Summary: Across the country, some local law agencies are using a cellphone tracking tool that enables them to follow the movement of individuals. At times this information is accessed without search warrants, and has been used in criminal cases as well as in efforts to locate missing persons. The software, “Fog Reveal”, provides location analyses based on an individual’s “patterns of life”, using advertising identification numbers that are pulled from widely-used “…cellphone apps such as Waze, Starbucks and hundreds of others that target ads based on a person’s movements and interests…” According to the article, some privacy advocates are concerned that the use of this tool by law enforcement agencies violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, related to protections against unreasonable search and seizure.

This story is one part of the Associated Press series “Tracked”, and is supported by the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting.