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GPS Tracking of State Worker Raises Privacy Issues 173

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from a Times Union article: "How far can state government go in keeping tabs on its employees? That's the question a mid-level appeals court will consider in the wake of a lawsuit filed by the New York Civil Liberties Union against the state Labor Department, in the case of a fired state worker who was tracked with a GPS device that investigators secretly attached to his personal car. ... State officials tracked Cunningham's whereabouts by secretly attaching a GPS device to his BMW. The electronic tailing went beyond what would normally be termed Cunningham's work hours, since the device was on for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They even tracked him on a multi-day family vacation."
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GPS Tracking of State Worker Raises Privacy Issues

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 16, 2011 @05:12PM (#37424432)

    Ex-Cisco employee here. Anon for a reason. They planted a gps tracker in my laptop and pushed down gps tracking software to my cell phone (personal phone, but attached to their email servers). All reporting back to some database servers in Cisco's corporate datacenters.

    Found this, confronted them, and negotiated a significant settlement for not going public with the info. Don't care if they track me down now based on this posting, though, as they just laid off a ton of my great friends who remained. So, hopefully this will gain traction and other Cisco employees will look into this unethical (and illegal?) tracking of employees.

    And you don't even want to know what kind of monitoring stuff they snuck into their IP Phones... If the public ever figures that out, Cisco has a great cover story ready: there's so much legacy code from Selsius (the original manufacturer of the phone technology) that it was cleverly hidden and unnoticed through years of QA testing.

  • by idontgno (624372) on Friday September 16, 2011 @05:52PM (#37424724) Journal

    TFA states that they had not exhausted all non-GPS solutions to tracking him.

    Even that formulation misses a critical point: The objective which would have been meaningful to their goal (proving timecard fraud) was not "track him"; the appropriate objective is "verify workplace attendance". The phrase in TFA (yeah, I know, no one reads that... just go with it for a second) "worked odd hours at his job" (emphasis mine) indicates that finding out where he was at any time should not have been the objective... only finding out when he was in the office. (He wasn't working from someplace else, since the presumption is "at his job"... at his place of employment.)

    So GPS tracking is solving the wrong problem. A webcam monitoring ingress and egress to his office, or computer system logs... a physical access control like a card entry system would have gone a long ways towards determining the real information they needed.

    GPS was the wrong solution because it was answering the wrong question. It's not justified.

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