Locate X is a program that can track people’s whereabouts on their devices. The United States Secret Service (USSS) has purchased this technology. The $36.000 acquisition will be added to a robust social media monitoring platform. The sale was confirmed after first being looked in to by Protocol back in March.
Locate X is a tool that acquires data from the use of popular apps. Whoever has the tech can track the user’s location and time, based on the usage. This product has not only been used by the USSS but also Customs, and Border Patrol. This platform was not originally intended for government use however, it’s a marketing tool. It was designed to help market research better target audiences.
As you can imagine, this move has sparked some attention. There are lawmakers and many civil liberty groups that do not agree with these strategies. One Senator, Ron Wyden as recently put forth a new bill. This bill would essentially ban these types of purchases and has been appropriately called ‘The Fourth Amendment Is Not For Sale’.
The New York Times, back in December of 2018 published an article on the same topic. It followed a woman through her day and her identity was only listed as Ms. Magrin. Her location information was gathered and sold.
“It’s the thought of people finding out those intimate details that you don’t want people to know,” said Ms. Magrin, who gave her permission to the NYT to review the information.
There is no doubt that this type of information could be used for good. But at what cost? It seems as if this information is becoming more and more available for the right price. This is a delicate topic and although The USSS has been asked to disclose more information about Locate X, the concern is obviously one of privacy.
Source: The Verge