techdirt: Yet Another Data Broker Found To Give Massive Amounts Of Location Info To Law Enforcement by Tim Cushing:
The Supreme Court may have extended constitutional protection to historical cell site location info, but that’s not going to stop our public servants — and the private companies that serve them — from finding ways to elude the ramifications of the Carpenter decision.
Over the past couple of years, court documents and public records have exposed this law enforcement-adjacent business. (These brokers also sell data to private companies, but seem to prefer their government contracts.) Bypassing even questionable geofence warrants (ones that perform searches of areas for devices of interest, rather than targeting any specific suspect), government agencies are buying direct access to location data pulled from dozens of apps that collect this information while in use.
The EFF has obtained several documents detailing the offerings of Fog Data Science, yet another entrant in the data broker sweepstakes. Pulling information gleaned from over 100 public records requests, the EFF notes the company has (or has had) contracts with at least 18 law enforcement agencies, including some at the federal level.
Here’s what the company does:
The company, Fog Data Science, has claimed in marketing materials that it has “billions” of data points about “over 250 million” devices and that its data can be used to learn about where its subjects work, live, and associate. Fog sells access to this data via a web application, called Fog Reveal, that lets customers point and click to access detailed histories of regular people’s lives. This panoptic surveillance apparatus is offered to state highway patrols, local police departments, and county sheriffs across the country for less than $10,000 per year.