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What Does Your Phone Company Have On You? - VIDEO

Spitz

What does your phone company have on you? Malte Spitz wanted to find out and received 35,830 lines of code -- "a detailed, nearly minute-by-minute account of half a year of his life."

Watch his TED Talk on self-determination in the digital age, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. This should surprise no one. The advent of smartphones and high speed internet has been a bonanza for data mining. In particular, people are incredibly foolish to put so much private info about themselves online, like on FB. But accessing the internet on your smartphone is just as dangerous if not more-so than on your laptop or other device. And since most people use google, it's incredibly easy for them and others [corporations, government, etc.] to spy on your intimate online activities, to aggregate this data and even keep dossiers on you. There is zero privacy unless you take regular proactive steps to protect yourself, and even then that's not always possible. I even suspect many antivirus and antimalware programs are involved with nefarious companies, groups, and government agencies, and am sure intelligence agencies have back doors to just about everything.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 27, 2012 10:19:36 AM


  2. The illusion of privacy.

    Posted by: Geoff M | Jul 27, 2012 10:25:32 AM


  3. Terrifying! George Orwell had it right. The thing he had wrong is that it would be much more subtle and come in the form of a smartphone that people line up for. And he forgot about "American Idol" too. That's how they placate us, with endless mindless drivel so we don't rebel.

    Posted by: AJ | Jul 27, 2012 10:45:46 AM


  4. And consider for a moment the data you keep on your phone and laptop, and the consequences of them being 'lost' or stolen. Police, intelligence agencies, private investigators can do a lot even with an encrypted HD.

    And devices exist that can READ your phone's data, including stuff like emails and pics, from a distance without you being aware of it. This is real stuff, not scifi or tin foil hat BS.

    Stores and others are still engaged in using chips to track your every movement and what and where you buy products, even though there was initial outrage a few years back. In the meantime, the technology has only improved and companies exist to aggressively promote their use by commercial business interests and police.

    Add to all this the continued decline in the use of cash in favor of debit cards and electronic payments, and we've got a nightmarish scenario in place.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 27, 2012 10:54:15 AM


  5. If you're concerned about this in the United States, the most important thing you can do today is go here:

    http://goo.gl/vNkBJ

    and use the form to send a quick email to the US Senate asking them to keep privacy provisions in the new cybersecurity bill (S 3414). Part of the privacy provisions deal with retention of this kind of information, and what should be available to the government, and for sale between companies without your permission.

    Then join the EFF (eff.org) and the ACLU (aclu.org).

    I wish more people in the technology community were looking out for you, but the truth is that many of us are more concerned with the money we can make off of you.
    A prime example of this shown in this tweet:

    Foursquare rep says, "Privacy is a modern invention," as if that ends the debate on ethics. Someone in audience yells, "So is sanitation!"

    https://twitter.com/dorward/statuses/184971912059949056

    Posted by: Eric | Jul 27, 2012 10:54:25 AM


  6. @AJ,

    We're really seeing a combination of Brave New World and 1984, more-so Brave New World IMO. Don't forget one of the most important aspects of this fascist scientific dictatorship: DRUGS. Mind altering, psychotropic 'legal' prescription drugs are ubiquitous. It's a GIGANTIC business, rivaling the 'illegal' drug trafficking business. We're fast becoming a zombie nation.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jul 27, 2012 10:58:10 AM


  7. Great presentation... but it misses one key component that I haven't seen any privacy activist talk about. Your phone is essentially a wireless data vacuum, constantly looking for the MAC addresses of wireless access points, mapping them to your GPS coordinates, and reporting them back to the phone manufacturer to make their geolocation better.

    Sound harmless, right? Hardly. If you paid for your WiFi access point with a credit card, or registered it with the manufacturer with a warranty, that MAC address is now paired with your name. Chances are nearly 100% that someone walking nearby has mapped your unique MAC address to a physical location. If a few dozen people have walked by in range... you've now been mapped to a resolution of a few meters.

    If I want to find you (as a government), even if you've dropped off the grid and moved a few times, all it takes is someone with a phone to walk by your house within range of your WiFi.

    Posted by: Nobody | Jul 27, 2012 11:26:50 PM


  8. Everyone says "I have nothing to hide" and many people don't. That's why virtually everyone gives this type of data points freely to the corp and gov't. However, everyone has hopes, dreams, goals. What is to stop some agency from finding out everything about you and then threatening you or implying that something you want would be much harder to achieve if you don't "cooperate" with their request? Or just as insidious, you censor your thoughts or postings "just in case" some agency reviews them? This chills debate a.k.a. free speech

    Posted by: amberson | Jul 28, 2012 4:13:47 AM


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