Shh! Your GPS Ankle Bracelet Is Listening
2013 11 19

By Waldo D. Covas Quevedo | The Crime Report

When defense lawyer Fermín L. Arraiza-Navas sat down with a prospective client in San Juan, Puerto Rico last April, he casually asked the man about the Global Positioning System (GPS) ankle bracelet that he was wearing as a condition for his bail.

The reply was just as casual.

“They speak to me through that thing,” the man said.


It wasn’t the first time the lawyer encountered GPS bracelets with apparently extraordinary powers. He told the Puerto Rico Center for Investigative Reporting (CPIPR) that a previous defendant’s GPS ankle bracelet started to vibrate during a meeting with him.

But Arraiza-Navas decided this was more than a coincidence. He cancelled the meeting and filed a motion at the Puerto Rico State Superior Court in San Juan to have the device removed.

During the court hearing on the motion, his worst suspicions were confirmed.

A Corrections Department agent, who works at the Puerto Rico Pretrial Services Office’s monitoring center for defendants free on bail, placed a GPS ankle bracelet on the court podium and made a call from the device to a technician of the SecureAlert company, which provides them at a facility in Sandy, Utah.

The technician, who was addressed through the GPS ankle bracelet—which has a phone feature—testified that, although the device is supposed to vibrate when activated from Utah, the feature could be turned on without warning.

Superior Judge Elizabeth Linares ordered the device removed within the Court’s cell area for the duration of the meeting between the defendant and his defense counsel.

But the discovery has raised serious questions about whether such technology violates the confidentiality of the attorney-client relationship—and the right to privacy—for thousands of individuals under court supervision across the U.S. whose personal private conversations could be heard or recorded without their knowledge and without a court warrant.

Civil Liberties Concerns

These concerns were shared by privacy experts and civil liberties attorneys contacted by the Puerto Rico Center for Investigative Reporting.

Puerto Rico Constitutional legal expert Carlos E. Ramos, who teaches at the Interamerican University Law School, said “the state [efforts] to listen and/or record the unauthorized conversations between a defendant with his or her lawyer through an electronic GPS-bracelet represents the most absolute and gross infringement to that person’s constitutional rights.”

“If that action is conducted through a private company, the infringement is magnified,” Ramos added.

During the court hearing, Arraiza-Navas noted that no alarm or signal was heard or seen when the electronic communication was allegedly finished.

In his motion to the court, the lawyer stated that the system’s operators had informed his office that the device was able to “activate unilaterally” from the command post and that “the conversations could be heard.”

[...]

Read the full article at: thecrimereport.org




Related Articles
Meet SIBIOS: Argentina’s Massive, Orwellian Biometric Database
Confirmed: NSA has broken into Google, Yahoo data centers and now monitors all web searches, Gmail
EU Proposal to Monitor "Intolerant" Citizens
Will Insurance Companies Use Smart Appliances to Monitor “Unhealthy” Habits?
The Government Plans To Track Us And Those We Are Related To Using Our DNA
NSA Tracks Turned-Off Phones — But Phone Makers Don’t Know How
Homeland Security grant gives Seattle police a network that can track all Wi-Fi enabled devices
Police Cars Fitted With Tracking Device Cannon
Shock Video Shows Police Forcibly Drawing Blood


Latest News from our Front Page

Illegal Aliens Cleared For U.S. Military Service
2014 10 18
The Pentagon announced a new policy allowing illegal immigrants the opportunity to enlist in the armed forces, Thursday. USA Today reports that the new recruitment policies will focus on people with "high-demand skills" like foreign language acumen and health care training: "For the first time, the program — known as Military Accessions in the National Interest, or MAVNI — will ...
Bronze Age Sundial-Moondial Discovered in Russia
2014 10 16
A strange slab of rock discovered in Russia more than 20 years ago appears to be a combination sundial and moondial from the Bronze Age, a new study finds. The slab is marked with round divots arranged in a circle, and an astronomical analysis suggests that these markings coincide with heavenly events, including sunrises and moonrises. The sundial might be "evidence of ...
Humans may only survive 68 days on Mars
2014 10 15
Space enthusiasts planning a move to Mars may have to wait to relocate: conditions on the Red Planet are such that humans would likely begin dying within 68 days, a new study says. Oxygen levels would start to deplete after about two months and scientists said new technologies are required before humans can permanently settle on Mars, according to the study ...
Tom Sunic’s letter to the US Ambassador to Hungary
2014 10 14
October 11, 2014 Mr. André Goodfriend Chargé d’Affaires Embassy of the United States of America Szabadság tér 12 H-1054 Budapest Dear Mr. Goodfriend, As an American citizen I would hereby like to express my concern over the recent decision by the Hungarian government to ban the National Policy Institute (NPI) conference which had been scheduled to take place in Budapest from October 3 to October 5, 2014. ...
"Vampire grave" found in Bulgaria
2014 10 14
A "vampire grave" containing a skeleton with a stake driven through its chest has been unearthed by a man known as "Bulgaria’s Indiana Jones". Professor Nikolai Ovcharov – a crusading archaeologist who has dedicated his life to unearthing mysteries of ancient civilisations – said that he had made the discovery while excavating the ruins of Perperikon, an ancient Thracian city ...
More News »