The Wall Street Journal reported today that the United States government has a fleet of Cessna planes in at least five US airports that are equipped to track and aid in pinpointing of specific mobile phones. The technology dubbed Dirtbox (Digital Receiver Technology), which was developed by a subsidiary of Boeing, mimics a cell tower tricking mobile phones. The planes fly over an area and can attempt to locate specific phones via the unique IMEI number, however all phones in the area will respond to the signal. Each phone is logged and labeled as "Of Interest" or "Not of Interest". If a phone of interest is located they can perform additional steps to triangulate the specific location of the person or phone of interest. All encryption has been turned off so the government can obtain personal information such as what numbers were called from any of the phones. The FBI has used similar technology for years with a program dubbed Stingrays.
I am not an expert but it seems that a criminal or terrorist would not use a cell phone that could be tracked to them and switch phones often. We all know there are stupid criminals out there though.
For the vast majority of people in this country this is a direct violation of our privacy and civil rights. Who defines "Of Interest" and "Not of Interest"? If I don't vote for a particular candidate or donate to the President's opponent do I get on the list?