White boxes still broadcasting signal day after police promised to switch them off
Paul Joseph Watson
November 14, 2013
Despite claims by the Seattle Police Department that a wi-fi mesh network which had the capability to store an individual’s last 1,000 locations via their cellphone had been deactivated in response to a privacy outcry, the network still appears to be active.
On Tuesday, the SPD announced that Police Chief Jim Pugel had given the order to deactivate the network. However, as of Wednesday afternoon at 4pm, it was still very much active.
A Reddit user posted the image above of the white wi-fi hub located at 2nd & Cherry. While no one expects the SPD to remove all the boxes within 24 hours, authorities did promise to switch off the network.
That clearly hasn’t happened since, as the screenshot below shows, the wi-fi hubs are still broadcasting a signal, giving them the capability to track the location of every cellphone in the vicinity even if it is not connected to the network.
Another Reddit user commented that, “The devices remain broadcasting all over downtown.”
As we documented earlier this week, the $2.7 million dollar system, funded by a Department of Homeland Security grant, consists of a series of white wi-fi boxes affixed to utility poles with which authorities eventually plan to blanket the entire city.
The system can track cellphones even if they are not connected to the network, according to promotional documents by manufacturer Aruba Networks, which bragged that the grid could ensnare “rogue” or “unassociated” devices.The system can also collect a mobile user’s IP address, mobile device type, apps used, and historical locations.
Infowars subsequently obtained documents from a government insider that revealed how the mesh network was far more than just a means of tracking people’s locations, it was also linked with DHS fusion centers and collected a “wealth of information” from the cellphones of people in the coverage area.
While the Seattle Police Department’s failure to deactivate the network is likely due to tardiness and not outright deception, it doesn’t do a great deal to suggest that authorities are that eager to allay the concerns of privacy advocates.