Two Democratic U.S. Senators are inquiring into the government tracking of iPhone and other smartphones to obtain people's locations.
With many advances in technology devices, and after the recent phone hacking scandal from News of the World, as well as what some American have perceived as an overreaching Patriot Act, this issue has become increasingly sensitive and important.
Tom Udall of Colorado and Ron Wyden of Oregon have written Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to shed light on how intelligence agencies apply federal law that permit them to track and record people. With most cellular phones having advanced GPS features, domestic spying entities may have the power to locate specific individuals.
In some cases, GPS technology has become so sophisticated that a person can be tracked to a specific room of a building. Many cellular phone continue to step up their GPS capabilities. For example, iPhones have InstaMapper, a free real-time GPS tracking service.
The Senators asked in the letter: Do government agencies have the authority to collect the geolocation information of American citizens for intelligence purposes?
According to some legal experts, the court system has been inconsistent with the government's data-seeking practices of what can be viewed as personal information.
GPS technology is unquestionably a great tool, not just for Americans on the go and cellular companies offering services, but for law enforcement professionals looking to track suspects and catch criminals, Wyden stated in June. But all tools and tactics require rules and right now, when it comes to geolocation information, the rules aren't clear.