Police in Seattle, Washington have responded to a major public outcry by disabling a recently discovered law enforcement tool that critics said could be used to conduct sweeping surveillance across the city.
Last week, Seattle’s The Stranger published an in-depth look at a little known new initiative taking place within the city that involved the installation of dozens of devices that would create a digital mesh network for law enforcement officers. The devices — small white-boxes equipped with antennas and adorned on utility poles — would broadcast data wirelessly between nodes so police officers could have their own private network to more easily share large amounts of data. As The Stranger pointed out, however, those same contraptions were able to collect data on internet-ready devices of anyone within reach, essentially allowing the Seattle Police Department to see where cell phones, laptops and any other smart devices operating within reach were located.
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