Cellphones Allow Us to Gain Stalkers Lose Privacy

Phone companies know where their customers’ cellphones are, often within a radius of less than 100 feet. That tracking technology has rescued lost drivers, helped authorities find kidnap victims and let parents keep tabs on their kids.

But the technology isn’t always used the way the phone company intends.

One morning last summer, Glenn Helwig threw his then-wife to the floor of their bedroom in Corpus Christi, Texas, she alleged in police reports. She packed her 1995 Hyundai and drove to a friend’s home, she recalled recently. She didn’t expect him to find her.

Marsie Silvestro, who runs battered-women shelters, says tracking is a problem.

 The day after she arrived, she says, her husband “all of a sudden showed up.” According to police reports, he barged in and knocked her to the floor, then took off with her car.

The police say in a report that Mr. Helwig found his wife using a service offered by his cellular carrier, which enabled him to follow her movements through the global-positioning-system chip contained in her cellphone.

Technology is enhancing the reach of stalkers, allowing them to take advantage of location-based social networking applications. WSJ’s Andy Jordan reports.

The allegations are a stark reminder of a largely hidden cost from the proliferation of sophisticated tracking technology in everyday life—a loss of privacy.

Cellphones allow us to gain stalkers but  lose privacy..

 

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