The Seattle Police Department purchased a “mesh network” in February that will be used by emergency responders, but which will also be capable of tracking anyone with Wi-Fi enabled device.
The network is not yet turned on, according to Seattle Police, but once it is, it will be able to determine the IP address, device type, downloaded applications, current location, and historical location of any device that searches for a Wi-Fi signal. The network is capable of storing that information for the previous 1,000 times a particular device attempted to access a Wi-Fi signal.
Jamela Debelak, of the American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU), is worried that police will use the network for more than just coordinating emergency responders. “They now own a piece of equipment that has tracking capabilities so we think that they should be going to City Council and presenting a protocol for the whole network that says they won’t be using it for surveillance purposes,” she told KIRO 7.