Cell Phone Surveillance
Many people in the United States of America do not know how tracking cell phones can affect their society. In recent years, especially after the 9/11 attacks, there has been increased concern for the safety and security of the United States of America to ensure attacks like these never happen again. In order for the government to maintain the safety of the country, the government has used a variety of technology companies to track cell phones and other communication devices for security purposes. In opposition to the new governmental regulation, individuals have begun to strongly voice their opinions on this perceived invasion of their privacy. I read two articles and analyzed an editorial cartoon that took opposing sides of this subject. On one side of the argument, Nikki Swartz believes ultimately that digital surveillance is a necessary evil for preventing future threats. She wrote about this in her paper “Mobile Phone Tracking Scrutinized.” On the other side, “Reach Out and Track Someone”, written by Terry J. Allen, argues that these tracking systems are a threat to an individual’s right to privacy. Following this dichotomy, I will compare and contrast the two views from these sources in order to form a synthesis that provides a new perspective. Regardless of the different views that people may have about tracking cell phones, I believe it has both positive and negative aspects.
In her journal article ”Mobile Phone Tracking Scrutinized,” Nikki Swartz weighs in on the debate on cell phone surveillance systems. Swartz concentrates her argument on the fact that so many Americans do not know that cell phone companies, as well as the U.S. government, can track their every move through cellular devices, even if they are not in use. She also mentions that it is becoming increasingly common for law enforcement officials to use this technology for their benefit. However, in order to obtain permission to track someone’s phone, officials are required to obtain a court order, and many courts are denying prosecutors the right if they do not have probable cause. This article is very factual and straightforward on the matter and appears less biased because it gives information from daily life and attempts to limit itself to facts.
In a different article, “Reach Out and Track Someone”, Terry J. Allen also discusses the conversation regarding cell phone tracking. Allen discusses how it is possible that officials and other personnel can track someone’s phone by using cell towers. She states that an official needs a court order in order to track a phone. Unfortunately, it is not always as cut and dry as that. There have been numerous violations where courts will give orders without probable cause. Allen provides the reader with ample information on how tracking technology could happen, while Swartz, on the other hand, focuses her discussion on the court aspect of this problem. The editorial cartoon picture by Summers depicts a group of Americans talking on the phone including a child and baby. One of the men in the picture is saying to his friend over the phone “Americans don’t want people listening in their private conversations.” There are different kinds of people on the phone. Most of them are packed close to each other and they think no one can hear them. Americans tend to feel a sense of privacy during their conversations. I have noticed that people often try to make their cell phone conversations as self-contained as possible. There is no doubt that most Americans do not like the idea or the practice of being violated in their right of privacy. To briefly summarize and critique the editorial cartoon, cell phone tracking is a highly controversial issue that brings many discussions about privacy to the table. Invasion of privacy is a major issue that arises from cell phone