A decision by a court in Germany has declared that Facebook must stop collecting data on users without their consent, and give them the option to opt-out. Facebook is appealing, and says without the ability to collect data, they would have to shut down the social network access nationwide. Leo says that is part of the deal you make with Facebook. Free services for collecting data on your usage of Facebook. Someone has to pay the bills.
News broke this week of the U.S. Marshals Service program that's been ongoing since 2007 to gather information from Americans' cellphones. It uses small fixed-wing Cessnas equipped with 'dirtboxes' that imitate cell towers to get identifying information from citizens. According to those familiar with the program, these planes make regular flights and can scoop up data from tens of thousands of phones in densely populated areas. The program is meant to locate individuals under investigation and fugitives, but it collects information from all cellphones.