Shh! Your GPS Ankle Bracelet Is Listening
2013-11-19 0:00

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

Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan
2016-04-28 20:10
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North. The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night. A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked. The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons
2016-04-28 20:48
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough. Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield. Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims
2016-04-27 2:23
St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July. The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
2016-04-27 2:09
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown. The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent. He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop
2016-04-25 23:10
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are. ... London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race. Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event. Marathon ...
More News »