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Tracking Equipment Keeps Getting Cheaper, Study Finds

SURVEILLANCE—U.S.

January 10, 2014

New research published in The Yale Law Journal by independent researcher Ashkan Soltani and New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute Policy Director Kevin Bankston has found that the cost of tracking the location of an individual is growing dramatically cheaper. Based on work submitted to the Privacy Law Scholars Conference in 2013, Soltani writes on his personal blog, “tracking a suspect using a GPS device is 28 times cheaper than assigning officers to follow him.” Soltani also notes, “If technical and financial barriers previously provided some protection from large-scale surveillance by the government, these implicit protections have been essentially eliminated by the low costs of new surveillance technology,” adding, “Once the cost approaches zero, we will be left with only outdated laws as the limiting function.”
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