May 17, 2018

Error in LocationSmart's free trial system let anyone track anyone

Phone cases, from a Chicago Apple Store, in a photo taken in March. Photo: Jim Young/AFP via Getty Images.

A bug in a service used to track cellphones allowed anyone who signed up for a free demonstration to track any person without consent, ZDNet reports. That service, LocationSmart, is intended for marketers but was used by another firm, Securus, to provide law enforcement with a controversial phone tracking system.

Why it matters: LocationSmart can be used to track nearly all domestic cell phones in the U.S. and Canada.

The details: The bug was discovered by Robert Xiao, a Carnegie Mellon PhD. student.

  • LocationSmart offers a demonstration to track the location of a cell phone whose owner documented consent for the trial.
  • Xiao noticed that the LocationSmart API — an interface between LocationSmart computer code and a users' own computer code — did not properly check that consent was given.
  • Xiao and a Carnegie Mellon organization called CERT, which specializes in security, notified LocationSmart of the problem.

Go deeper

Updated 13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. cities crack down on protesters

Demonstrators gather at Lafayette Park across from the White House to protest the death of George Floyd in Washington, D.C. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Major U.S. cities have implemented curfews and called on National Guard to mobilize as thousands of demonstrators gather across the nation to continue protesting the death of George Floyd.

The state of play: Hundreds have already been arrested as tensions continue to rise between protesters and local governments. Protesters are setting police cars on fire as freeways remain blocked and windows are shattered, per the Washington Post. Law enforcement officials are using tear gas and rubber bullets to try to disperse crowds and send protesters home.

Updated 59 mins ago - Politics & Policy

George Floyd protests: What you need to know

Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Clashes erupted between police and protesters in several major U.S. cities Saturday night as demonstrations over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black men spread across the U.S. Saturday.

The big picture: Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody is the latest reminder of the disparities between black and white communities in the U.S. and comes as African Americans grapple with higher death rates from the coronavirus and higher unemployment from trying to stem its spread.

Trump to invite Russia and other non-member G7 countries to summit

President Trump at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Saul Martinez/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters on Saturday evening he would postpone the G7 summit to September and expand the meeting to more nations that are not members of the Group of 7.

Details: Trump said he would invite Russia, South Korea, Australia and India to the summit, according to a pool report. "I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries," he said.