From a disturbing recent post on WIRED's Threat Level is the story of an animal rights activist who, after confronting the FBI agents who were following her around, discovered a GPS tracker on her car.
I'm going to assume she didn't do anything to warrant being tailed. I mean, we're free to have our own opinions -- however misguided -- and it's supposed to be innocent until proven guilty and all of that, right?
But perhaps supporting animal rights and environmental causes is some sort of precrime in the mind of the FBI.
Anyway, due to the cheap price tag and legal loopholes surrounding GPS trackers, using them for surveillance has become much more common in recent years:
GPS vehicle trackers, based on technology first used by the military for navigation, have become a popular law-enforcement tool for tracking people. Cruder than other forms of surveillance — they report only where a suspect’s car goes, not who is in the car or what occupants do when they arrive at a location — they’re nonetheless frequently used for supplementary surveillance. That’s because in most jurisdictions, investigators don’t need court approval to slap a tracking device on a driver’s car, and because the devices provide a stealthier and more cost-effective approach to surveillance than a team of cops trailing a suspect around the clock.
Of course, just having a cellphone makes you easy to track -- in fact, it's almost impossible not to be found nowadays unless you're really careful -- but willingly owning and carrying a trackable device is just a wee bit different than having somebody attach one to your private property without your knowledge. Don't you think?
Now we're no fans of the animal rights philosophy. And we're well aware of the fact that animal rights activists and environmental extremists have caused a bazillion or so dollars in property damage over the last few decades; we have no problem seeing various groups and individuals listed as domestic terrorists when they act as such. But simply believing in a cause? That's more than a little disturbing. What, are we gonna start listening in on conversations between Flat Earthers, next? Unless there's something more to this story we don't know, harassing and tracking somebody simply for their beliefs seems a little, I dunno, un-American.