That A Phone, No It’s A Tracker!
N.Y. Times Sunday Review, “That’s No Phone. That’s My Tracker,” by Peter Maass and Megha Rajagopalan, reporters on digital privacy for ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative newsroom: “THE device in your purse or jeans that you think is a cellphone … is a tracking device that happens to make calls. … [T]hese devices are … taking note of what we buy, where and when we buy it, how much money we have in the bank, whom we text and e-mail, what Web sites we visit, how and where we travel, what time we go to sleep and wake up … Much of that data is shared with companies that use it to offer us services they think we want. … Cell companies typically retain your geographic information for a year or longer, according to data gathered by the Justice Department. …. “The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, ruling about the use of tracking devices by the police, noted that GPS data can reveal whether a person ‘is a weekly church goer, a heavy drinker, a regular at the gym, an unfaithful husband, an outpatient receiving medical treatment, an associate of particular individuals or political groups – and not just one such fact about a person, but all such facts.’ … New research suggests that by cross-referencing your geographical data with that of your friends, it’s possible to predict your future whereabouts with a much higher degree of accuracy. This is what’s known as predictive modeling, and it requires nothing more than your cellphone data.”