- Two men accused of selling meth to undercover cop (6/22/17)
- Cape man stabbed in head, arm after strip-club incident; skull fractured, police say (6/25/17)3
- Custom cuts: Local hairstylist provides free haircuts to special-needs children (6/26/17)3
- Police: Man grabbed wheel, tried to kill driver and himself in Jackson crash (6/23/17)
- Jackson scores high in survey of residents; better streets, Aldi are high priorities (6/20/17)4
- Annual SEMO District Fair event lineup announced (6/23/17)1
- Marble Hill mayor hires city manager without board approval (6/21/17)4
- Oran town board fired officer before hiring him as police chief; city officials say they can't remember reason for firing (6/25/17)2
- Playing with fire (6/25/17)
- Two charged in theft of jewelry from Cape storage facility (6/23/17)1
Monitoring cell phones
We all know cell phones are handy, sometimes in unforeseen ways. In London, police tracked down a suspect in the recent failed suicide bombings by running down his cell phone records and tracing him to his brother's flat near Rome.
Now the Missouri Department of Transportation proposes to have private companies monitor motorists' cell phones as a means of tracking traffic patterns. The information would be sent to Web sites and electronic road signs providing motorists with information about alternative routes when congestion arises.
Fears that Big Brother is crowding us are unfounded, MoDOT director Pete Rahn assures. He insists the information about cell phone movement would remain anonymous.
The Missouri cell-phone monitoring project would be the largest in the country. Much smaller attempts to use similar technology are under way in Norfolk, Va., and along Interstate 75 near Atlanta.
It works by tracking signals from wireless phones to towers and following the phone's movement from one tower to another. This information is overlaid on highway maps to decipher the location of the phones and the speed they are moving.
The plan expects the contractor to market some of the information to the private sector, including media outlets providing traffic reports, cell phone companies and automakers offering onboard navigation systems,.
Those who are concerned about the project worry that it is a step toward the loss of privacy. For instance, would this information eventually be used to catch speeders? Tracking the speed and location of a mass of phones is one thing. Privacy advocates can be forgiven for wondering when some government agency will decide it needs to know exactly where your phone has been.