Sunday, October 16, 2005

MO to Track Cell Phones for Traffic Conditions

AP Wire | 10/08/2005 | States seeking to track cell phones for traffic conditions:

Well, the US is starting to get into the cell phone tracking game. Missouri is apparantly going to start a state-wide cell monitoring project for traffic purposes.
In what would be the largest project of its kind, the Missouri Department of Transportation is negotiating with private contractors to monitor thousands of cell phones, using their movements to produce real-time traffic conditions on 5,500 miles of roads statewide.

Cell phone users won't even know anyone's watching them. But transportation and technology leaders assure there is no need to worry - the data will remain anonymous, leaving no possibility of tracking specific people from their driveway to their destination.

Ha - anonymous my ass. Since when is anything anonymous? Do people still buy that line?

Once the ability to track cell phones for traffic purposes has been established, passive tracking isn't far behind. If it can be done - it will be. No matter what the current crop of politicos have to say out this side of their mouths, those in office 5-years from now can give us a new line of bullcrap justifying even greater invasions of privacy.

I can hear the arguments for passive tracking now: sexual offender tracking (the save our children argument), child tracking devices (lazy parent argument), and terrorism (only those with something to hide would oppose the idea).

From a GIS/data perspective I think it is an interesting idea. From a citizen's point of view it make me it should.

Here are some other articles and items related to this topic:
Intelligent transportation systems in the offing will ease traffic bottlenecks
Using Cell Phones as Traffic Probes (Canadian Study - PDF)
Slashdot Article


At 18/10/05 16:15, Blogger sjanedark said...

Yes the blessings of technology. It is weird but I think that for once I can make a long nose to all the law and policy makers and the causers of traffic jams.
I have no cell phone and no car. And though I am sometimes bored on sunday it seems that for once not being in the mainstream gives me an advantage.
I shall not be tracked.
Bye bye I am off to do something my parents won't approve of prolly in a motel ;)


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