The Austin Bomber was traced using cameras and cell phone data. His every move was followed from FedEx stores to his hotel. This is the world we live in. Get used to it.
Austin bombing suspect dead, apparently tracked down by surveillance state
A 24-year-old “white male” suspect in the bombing spree afflicting Austin, Texas is dead after blowing himself up in his car while being fired upon by police. Information is still very fragmentary, but according to reports on Fox News this morning, police were led to him through the blanket surveillance capabilities that have come characterize American society in the wake of the “war on terror.”
Specifically (and keep in mind that early information in huge media events often is subject to change), the suspect was photographed dropping off two packages at a FedEx office in Austin. (Update: photos.)
Hat tip: Conservative Treeehouse (source link).
He was wearing a hat and wig, reportedly, so no facial identification was possible, but police were able to use cell phone tower data to identify everyone who was in the area with a cell phone turned on. Evidently, the individual in question was already on some sort of police lists, and that identified him as a strong suspect. From that point, getting to his location was inevitable. Some reports indicate that police were able to trace his Google searches and identify the hotel where he was staying. But if he had the same cell phone on his person, that could have led police to him also.
No doubt some of this information will prove mistaken, but the underlying point remains sound. If you have a cell phone on your body with the battery in it, the police probably can know everywhere you have been and where you are now. And with the proliferation of security cameras, they can see you and what you are wearing.
This is called the “panopticon” state that can see you everywhere. China is spending a lot of money and devoting intellectual resources to becoming the most thoroughgoing panopticon state in human history. But if you think you are not subject to constant surveillance and keep a cell phone with you, the police can find out where you’ve been and where you are now, in the land of the free and the home of the brave.
The demise of the presumptive perp in Austin is an upside of this situation. The downside has yet to be fully plumbed here, but in China, it is clear that it is a foundational element of twenty-first-century tyranny.
Prepare yourself for further information on the suspect’s motivation. Leftists are hoping he is some sort of rightist or racist, giving them moral bragging rights. Conservatives are hoping he is a leftist for similar reasons. If the leftist hopes are realized, expect a huge wave of accusation leveled at everyone to the right of Lindsey Graham dominating the mainstream media. If he was a lefty, expect the mainstream media to change the subject.
Meanwhile, people in central Texas have to still worry about other packages that may be somewhere in the delivery systems of any provider of such services.