Cell Phone Carriers say they keep your location data for 7 years!
Call me paranoid, but this stuff is really too George Orwellian for me!
Last week major US cell phone carriers released information regarding how long your location information is stored! Yes folks, this means big brother is watching, and all they have to do is type in your phone number to tell anyone with access where you were, say yesterday or Jan 9th 2007. I bet you can’t remember where you were, but they can.
The trouble with this really is a matter of trust. Ok. So do you trust me to know where you are every minute of every day? How about the hypothetical upset Network Engineer from Texas who did not get his promotion he believed he deserved? He might just login to the system, retrieve that data for “business purposes” and sell it to the highest bidder in some hacker / cracker chat room from North Korea or Iran. Do you think they would pay a fortune to obtain the habitual movements of government officials and even prominent citizens?
Ok, now the naysayers are spouting off about “law abiding citizens” not having to worry about being tracked… that is exactly what they want, the majority to just shut up and get over it!
This must disturb even the most trusting soul who believes the Government is always acting in our best interest. Some of the paranoid think tank folks will state they have information that US Law Enforcement and Government Agencies are already using this data without warrants. I have no proof of that, but considering how easy it was for Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old U.S. Army private, suspected of involvement in the largest-ever intelligence leak in American history, I think we should really listen up here and look at where this is going!
What can I do, you ask? Well to start with, write, call and bother the heck out of your elected officials to get privacy laws updated! The privacy act of 1974 is a bit out of date. You can also call and write your wireless carrier and tell them to turn off tracking on your phone. Read the fine print of your wireless agreement. I don’t think you have given them permission to track your location. The carriers claim that permission is given when you turn on your GPS enabled application like mapping software. There is a popup screen that you have to click ‘agree to continue’.
There is a bigger issue here. I (and dozens of others) have actually written a simple application that when installed on an Android (mods for Iphone) phone, listens for a specially crafted text message that turns on your GPS (without notification) grabs your location information and sends a text message back to me with your location on a Google map. It would be very easy, and dare I say it’s already been done, for someone to wrap a tracker app into a legitimate application. Then when you install it, now your location is beamed to the stalker’s phone every 10 minutes without your knowledge or consent. 21st Century Stalking!
The tech companies see $$$ as they’re in the process of studying the habitual behavior of human traffic patterns to be able to predict where you’re going next. Yes, it’s being done every day already without your knowledge or consent. The behavioral scientists have developed an algorithm that takes archived location data and extrapolates a predictive model within 90% accuracy. Ok, read it again, this data can predict to 90% where you are going to be next! That should get your attention! Not only can they see you, they know where you’re going before you do!
Just to screw with “them” a little, turn off you phone every now and then. That should mess with their algorithm. You might even enjoy a little peace…
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