Sunday, September 19, 2010

[ozzxjiyn] Subpoena Google Navigation for speeding tickets

If you use an Android phone, between Google (via your google account) and your wireless provider, the two of them know who you are: name and billing address.

Google knows when and where you are, especially if you use many of the location aware apps like Google Navigation.

From location information and time, one can calculate speed.

Although Google claims to protect your privacy, they leave a glaring hole in that they will willingly cooperate with law enforcement when a crime has been committed.  An inadvertently famous example is the Youtube video depicting the bullying of a Italian Down Syndrome teenager : "We also worked with the local police to help identify the person responsible for uploading it and she was subsequently sentenced to 10 months community service".

Exceeding the speed limit is a clear violation of the law.

Speeding tickets are a valuable source of revenue for local municipalities.  Many local municipalities currently face a shortfall in budget and are eager to find sources of revenue to replace losses caused by the downturn in the economy.

In order not to have to lay off teachers or other unpleasant local budget cuts, local municipalities could subpoena Google for the IP addresses and Google accounts of all devices observed exceeding such-and-such a speed in such-and-such area, then subpoena their Gmail messages (searching for for example shipping confirmation for online purchases) or the wireless provider for the person corresponding to the IP address at the time of the infraction.

Because cell towers give a gross triangulation of location, it may be possible to extract revenue even if you own a dumb phone with no Google Android: "Phone X was made a call via tower P at time T1 and another call via tower Q at time T2.  There is no way to travel from within ranges of P to Q in that amount of time without speeding."

Send each violator a bill for the fine.  Some may contest it in court, but a vast majority will just pay it (after all, they probably were actually speeding).

(Yes, I have a problem with this.)

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