Meet the ‘Keyzer Soze’ of Global Phone-Tracking

From WIRED

JULY 18, 2011

Chances are you’ve never heard of TruePosition. If you’re an AT&T or T-Mobile customer, though, TruePosition may have heard of you. When you’re in danger, the company can tell the cops where you are, all without you knowing. And now, it’s starting to let governments around the world in on the search.

The Pennsylvania company, a holding of the Liberty Media giant that owns Sirius XM and the Atlanta Braves, provides location technology to those soon-to-be-merged carriers, so police, firefighters and medics can know where you’re at in an emergency. In the U.S., it locates over 60 million 911 calls annually. But very quietly, over the last four years, TruePosition has moved into the homeland security business — worldwide.

Around the world, TruePosition markets something it calls “location intelligence,” or LOCINT, to intelligence and law enforcement agencies. As a homeland security tool, it’s enticing. Imagine an “invisible barrier around sensitive sites like critical infrastructure,” such as oil refineries or power plants, TruePosition’s director of marketing, Brian Varano, tells Danger Room. The barrier contains a list of known phones belonging to people who work there, allowing them to pass freely through the covered radius. “If any phone enters that is not on the authorized list, [authorities] are immediately notified.”

TruePosition calls that “geofencing.” As a company white paper explains, its location tech “collects, analyzes, stores and displays real-time and historical wireless events and locations of targeted mobile users.”

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