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SOL: Big Brother Spying Extended Via Cellphones

Streets of London with Malcolm Aitken

Secret UK Government Backed Cellular Radar Project
Big Brother Will Soon Be Watching You

Imagine government officials "seeing" through walls into peoples’ homes and tracking their every move from hundreds of kilometres away. Yes it sounds like science fiction, but the UK government is reportedly secretly developing this technology today through a project called Celldar – for cellular [telephone based] radar.

The shapes made when radio waves emitted by mobile phone masts bounce off moving objects such as people and cars, will be picked up by the authorities using rapidly developing technology, according to the Guardian newspaper.

Signals bounced off fixed objects such as houses and trees will be filtered out.

Users could zoom in on an area hundreds of kilometres away, with a display showing moving people and vehicles.

The technology has been prototyped over short distances and developers are reportedly confident it can be extended.

Utilising a unit little bigger than a laptop computer, some users could even set up a “personal radar” in their vicinity.

The government also wants X-ray specs developed and researchers are working on the capability to 'see' through walls.

Government sources apparently say Celldar is for anti-terrorism defence, security and traffic control, but civil liberties groups are enraged.

“Its an appalling idea” says Simon Davies, director of Privacy International. “The government is just capitalising on current public fears over security to introduce systems that are neither desirable nor necessary,” he says.

One private security specialist, however, welcomed Celldar. “It will be enormously useful. Instead of setting up expensive and cumbersome surveillance equipment, police or the security services could start work quickly and easily almost anywhere.

“For tracking a suspect, preventing a potential crime or a terrorist strike or simply locating people it has enormous advantages.”

It is likely the technology would first be used to protect sensitive installations such as ports and airfields.

Since September 11, the UK government has targeted terrorism through legislation critics call excessive and repressive.

Senior police officers can now access mobile phone and email records without seeking permission from a judge or other official. Within two years, its expected mobile phones will all have satellite-locating devices built into them.

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- Malcolm Aitken is a freelance journalist based in London. He can be contacted at MTFAitken@aol.com


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