I read this wired article Phone Tap: How’s the Traffic? and found it interesting in a technical way and telling in a social way. Short summary: Missouri plans to monitor traffic by the amount of cell phone signals that pass over the roads.
The usual privacy advocates are up in arms, the state government has promised that none of the info will be individualy identifiable (for now of course). Naturally the plan is proceeding. (One of the firms involved in the industry, Airsage, seems to be located in my old stomping grounds of Marietta).
There do seem to be some good technical reasons to arrange traffic monitoring this way. Everyone is videotaped 20 times a day on the highway anyway so that open road is not really the place for anonnmity.
All of this makes me wonder, who is this really going to affect. Modern cell phones can be pinpointed via GPS anyway, and if the rumor that the microphone on a cellphone can be activated remotely is true (it seems quite credible) and talented amateurs can listen in to supposedly private conversations, then what privacy concerned person would use a cell phone?
That would make a lot of us not concerned about our privacy, which would also explain why nobody encrypts their email, which I thought everyone would be doing by now.