Tuesday, May 15, 2018

How Can You Get Privacy in the Age of Cell Phone Tracking?

EW emails:

In light of the John McAfee video you posted last week regarding his views on privacy, this article seems relevant. Telecom carriers appear to be selling location data in an unaggregated form.

Most concerning is that the tracking data is persistent, such as when the phone is idle (since the phone continues to "ping" cell towers). It's not surprising carriers have this data since it's part of how the network operates, but as per John McAfee's point... you can't expect companies to protect data they collect on you.

McAfee's view is to control what you input, but in this case the user's only option is to forego cellphones altogether, which isn't practical.

"...the former sheriff of Mississippi County, Mo., used a lesser-known Securus service to track people’s cellphones, including those of other officers, without court orders [...]

The service can find the whereabouts of almost any cellphone in the country within seconds. It does this by going through a system typically used by marketers and other companies to get location data from major cellphone carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon, documents show.


In an email, Securus said the service was based on cell tower information, not on phone GPS.

Securus received the data from a mobile marketing company called 3Cinteractive... In turn, 3Cinteractive got its data from LocationSmart, a firm known as a location aggregator, according to documents from those companies. LocationSmart buys access to the data from all the major American carriers, it says."
-Robert Wenzel  response:

First, I want to say that the McAffee post didn't get anywhere near the kind of attention it deserves.  You have to read between the lines during
his interview because I don't think McAfee wants to clearly state what he is doing to protect his privacy but if you pay close attention you can understand what he is hinting at.

As far as mobile phone privacy, one has to think about what kind of privacy one wants.

For example, I generally like the fact that Google tracks the websites I visit and serves me up ads that I find useful. What's the harm? If I want to go to a website that I don't want Google to be aware of, I would use a different computer, with different coordinates, different email etc.

With my cellphone, for the most part, I really don't care if ATT is tracking me. If I want to do something without being tracked, I wouldn't take my ATT phone with me. If necessary, I would take a burner phone

You just have to be creative, Keep in mind that when the FBI raided Donald Trump's lawyer's office, they found 16 different phones. That's creativity.

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