You make a valid reference to aviation. If rail operations are considered to be so extremely sensitive and confidential, then perhaps the armchair cynics would care to explain PlaneFinder - an aircraft tracking system linking the GSM network with air/ground based ATC systems to provide a range of data including (but not limited to) aircraft registration, flight number, track and altitude
I am lead to beleive that locomotives/self propelled rail vehicles have similiar on-board equipment which could allow for equivalent functionality via GPS and furthermore, would not be surprised to know that rail operators already use facility in such a manner
's defense, he's right on one point - unless we legitimately NEED access to the location data, it IS a luxury. He is reacting in the same way most of us do having been burned multiple times. I'd theorise that the reason that the ICE tracker requires a login and password is (among other reasons) that the original tracker was out there, but it was publicized by certain people in an attempt to rise in the imaginary hierarchy of enthusiastland. Which is, obviously complete rubbish, any alleged hierarchy (more, sense of respect) is founded on people sharing knowledge and rational discussion, not a childish notion of "I know something you don't know, nyah, nyah, nyah". This is why I have reacted quite abruptly with previous mention to the aforementioned website on these forums. It's fine if everybody has a secret, but nobody talks about it
Another possible reason for the (current) ICE "radio" tracker to remain secret is that it is a lot more powerful than the current version. I have seen someone access it previously (their day job having given them access), and it does give accurate information as to the locomotive, train number, location, etc. It also provides contact details to contact that particular locomotive. I recall a previous issue in which AK Car STN's were pasted on these forums in full, including the mobile phone number of the AK Car operator. This likely resulted in at least one or two cheeky enthusiasts calling up demanding to know where the AK Cars were, where they were going, what the motive power was, etc.
I return to my original point of, it's secret because it's secret. In the same way that STN's are internal documents intended for the use of employees and other stakeholders, assets that are, by their nature, restricted, should be spoken about in hushed tones.
Of course, if such a publicly accessible version of an ICE tracker was to become available, one would hope that it would be endorsed as such. This would remove the power of those who seek only to tease and manipulate others (such "community members" are known to leech information such as train running data from various websites without actually sharing anything of their own, except the results of their "haul" with still or video camera to bask in the accolades of their supposed peers), and would ensure that everyone has access to this information.
Granted, this would mean that information would be freely available, and it wouldn't be "who has the best train running info and gets the best shot", it's "who's the best photographer". We certainly can't have that!
EDIT: A footnote - we're very lucky in this community to have rail staff who often share insider information, be it official or just rumour from within the ranks (most of them state as such when sharing such rumours). Sadly, there are fewer and fewer of these people on the forums every day, as they are frequently burned out by the incessant demands of the more foam-afflicted members of this community. That said, we are richer for their presence, even if they can only comment occasionally.