Earlier this month, New Times reported on how South Florida cops routinely track people through their cell phone signals without getting a warrant first. Like cops around the country, they can do so thanks to a Melbourne, Florida-based company called Harris Corp. that makes cell phone spying devices for police agencies (a fact neither the company nor cops will openly discuss and we only learned about thanks to Wikileaks).
That story got us wondering: What other Florida companies could be helping the government spy on you? Turns out the Sunshine State is a hotbed for shadowy technology. Click through for five firms we found who might just be helping Uncle Sam keep tabs on you.
Started by Army and Air Force veterans and headquartered in Tampa
, this company provides "joint, tactical and strategic communications support to ... government agencies and the private sector." These guys run cyber operations, intelligence analysis, technical intelligence and psychological operations, among other services, and 80 percent of their staff holds a top secret clearance. They mostly sell their services to military agencies, but that doesn't necessarily mean state and local law enforcement agencies don't ask for their help as well.
4. Isaac Daniel Group
The Isaac Daniel Group, a Miami-based company, made news back in 2009 when it released the Blue GPS--a shoe embedded with a GPS tracker. The shoes allow the exact location of their wearer to be tracked by family and friends via cell phone and even on Facebook. Dubbed the "social networking shoe", a pair retails for about $150. Not only that, the shoe has a button that, when pressed, can send a signal to a call center where an operator can alert emergency responders. IDG also makes biometric scanners for U.S. borders.
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3. FedSys Secure Inc.
Here's what FedSys has to say about themselves: "FedSys is a worldwide professional services organization dedicated to providing operational support to government customers throughout the United States as well within the most austere and hostile global operating environments." In other words: They specialize in military intelligence, training and mentoring and cyber security. Sound like your forte? Based in Jupiter, they are currently hiring positions in forensics, border enforcement, counter terrorism and narcotics interdiction. The CEO is former Navy SEAL Matthew Mason.
2. Harris Corporation
Harris played a starring role in our piece on cell phone tracking, because they make the ;StingRay and KingFish systems, which intercept cell phone calls and use the signals to determine where the phones, accurate to within feet. Military and federal agencies like the FBI and the U.S. Marshalls have been using this equipment for years, and now local cops like the Miami-Dade Police Department have gotten in on the phone-tracking game thanks to Harris' hardware.
1. Terremark Worldwide Inc.
Now owned by Verizon, this company specializes in cyber operations, air and satellite operations and information technology. Back in 2006, Verizon was sued for spying for the National Security Agency, amassing a huge database of personal information from Internet and phone traffic. They operate a major chunk of the Internet, which provides access to virtually all of South America. You might have noticed their hulking, ultra-secure fortress that sticks out like a sore thumb in the middle of downtown Miami. Inside this complex with cypher-locked doors and 24-hour security is a data center where Internet service providers park their equipment. Who knows, there could even be a room where the NSA lurks, collecting all of our personal information that we float out on the Internet.