From the “Is This Really News?” department comes this recent story posted at NewScientist.com and titled Why satnavs are a detective’s best friend–
The way in-car and portable GPS receivers store records of their owner’s past movements is a boon for crimefighters, according to London’s Metropolitan Police.
In recent months the Met’s detectives have used data recovered from satnav systems of suspects to investigate kidnappings, child grooming, murder and terrorism, forensic experts say.
The gadgets can store hundreds of records of recent locations visited, revealing, for example, a person’s home. It also includes information on the destinations a potential criminal may have typed into a unit.
Beverly Nutter, forensic analyst at the Met’s Computer Systems Laboratory studied gadgets made by market-leader TomTom of the Netherlands. She found that they often retain records of past locations – old records have their file names removed but are not properly erased.
If this is actually new information to you, then I must assume you’ve just begun to be concerned about your privacy. I’ve been railing against OnStar, cell phones and other GPS-enabled devices for years now. Why anyone feels the need to broadcast their exact location 24 hours a day is simply beyond me.
Of course the government can access all of that data. If they can’t get it directly from the satellite (and I don’t know why they wouldn’t be able to) they can always access it on the device itself. Does no one know how to use a street map anymore? AAA still provides them free to members, so why pay hundreds (or thousands) of dollars to have some gadget in your car spying on you and reporting everything back to the government?
Oh, if you’re innocent then you have nothing to be afraid of? Really? Well, if your GPS reports that you’ve regularly driven through a known drug area (possibly on your way to work each day) then the cops can easily assume you’re an addict and impound your car. Sure, you’ll be found not-guilty (maybe), but your car (and your nifty little GPS device) will definitely still be confiscated by the state, never to be seen again.
Perhaps I should be happy that so many sheeple out there love these little gadgets. It makes the police so lazy they’ll never bother looking for me 😉