According to the companies that create surveillance solutions for law enforcement and intelligence agencies, the surveillance tools are only for governments. But, reality is much more disappointing. These surveillance industries are so poorly regulated and exceedingly secretive that their tools can easily make their way into the hands of repressive organizations.
We ourselves give them an open invitation as we all have sensors in our pockets that track our every move wherever we go.
Signaling System Number 7 (SS7) is a protocol suite used by most telecommunications operators throughout the world to communicate with one another when directing calls, texts and Internet data. It allows cell phone carriers to collect location information from cell phone towers and share it with each other. A United States carrier will find its customer, no matter if he or she travels to any other country.
The Washington Post published an awesome article on surveillance technology. Surveillance vendors also now have access to SS7.
These systems are so effective that it can even detect how fast a person on a city street is walking, or the speed a person’s car is traveling!
Privacy advocates are not only worried by governments getting their hands on these systems, but also about hackers and criminal gangs using it.