5/14/2012 8:03 PM ET|
Your cellphone is telling your secrets
Your phone knows where you go, whom you talk to, what you text, even when you shop. And it’s a total tattletale. Find out what it says.
Your cellphone is the enemy.
Sure, it connects you with people, the Internet, stupid games and even your bank account. But it's also a tracking device that your family, your favorite retailer and virtually any law-enforcement agency in the world can use to find you.
And you're complicit in helping them do so. By keeping your phone on, you are letting any number of people have access to private information about you that you might not think you're giving out.
Sometimes you're putting the information into pretty packages by signing into sites like Foursquare -- which is linked to your Facebook account -- when you enter a restaurant, a bar, even a church.
"Location information can reveal a great deal about a person," said Catherine Crump, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union.
It can show who you're friends with, what medical offices you visit, what organizations you belong to and, in worst-case situations, where you've been when you don't want to be found.
And, just like you see on the TV crime shows, the longer your cell phone is tracked, the more information about you is uncovered.
Consider the uproar around the controversial "Girls Around Me" app for iPhones that looked to some like a stalking tool. The developers, in a long-winded response to The Wall Street Journal in March, said the app was meant only "to make geo-social exploration of popular venues easy and visual."
It did so by using publicly available data from Foursquare and Facebook to tell users which bars and nightclubs, for example, were hot on a particular night.
It was billed as a go-to tool for guys looking for hot chicks who used Foursquare to see where they checked in on a given map area. In fact, the app would note anyone, male or female, who had checked in at places in the vicinity.
Not only would users know who was where but, through public information posted on Facebook pages, the users in some cases were able to find out a girl's name, what she looked like, her birthdate, where she went to school and worked, who she might be with and any number of things that people share through social media sites. What's more, the girls had no idea they were being tracked that way.
(After Foursquare cut off access to the app, the developer pulled it but said it would continue to tweak it and plans to reintroduce it.)
That underscores the conundrum with your cellphone: While it makes it convenient to find your friends, directions or the weather, you give up a little piece of your privacy each time you use it.
"Your cellphone is your best friend who is a tattletale," said Mike Gikas, a senior electronics editor at Consumer Reports. "It's there for you, it comforts you, it gets you stuff -- but then it tells the world about it. And the more you tell it, the more it's going to share," he added.
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Decades of social conditioning set the stage. Media stories of people 'saved' because they were able to be located by their cell phones, advertising hype to get people attuned to instant gratification, etc are training multiple generations to accept a lack of privacy. That government agencies, other organizations, and individuals can profile you better than a shrink you're seeing weekly has become a tolerated condition.
If I'm hiking, biking, at the beach, etc I don't want to text, take calls, or surf the web. I also don't want to pay the big $ for the data plans. I don't need to be connected 24x7x365 and when I leave work I want work to leave my head and actually have a semblance of a life. These seem to be foreign concepts to anyone under 35. Choices have consequences. Those who choose to live tethered to a smart phone and social apps either have to accept or at least deal with the ramifications.
You're so right! I went to my sister inlaws for Christmas and the adult daughters in their twenties sat on the couch the whole time texting and barely even spoke to anyone there. They are beautiful ,intelligent girls,but so rude at the same time and they don't even realize how very rude it is. They have been desensitized to the way it's supposed to be.
When I retired forom the Railroad I pulled the battery out of my cell phone and put it in a drawer. I own three old pocket watches that I keep in a safety deposit box with our other irreplacable items. I keep my three railroad wristwatches in the same drawer with my cell phone. After being on call for 35 years I don't feel the need to be in touch with everyone. If I want to know what time it is I look at the sun.
If you live wtih a phone and do stupid stuff you don't have much complaint if the FBI tracks you by it.
dear cell phone, i am going to mcdonalds for a sausage egg biscuit then to wal-mart parking lot to watch people then to the park to watch birds then i am going to buy all the Liggett stock i can because it is going through the roof later this week. After all that i'll stop by Logans for a cocktail and then to the library to pick up a treasure mystery. Tonight its dish network night where Bens getting engaged with John Boys disapproval. Then the Ingalls girls are going to discover a lesson about making their mule mad. Thx
In the final analysis, the best defense is common sense - and not constantly tweeting or checking in your whereabouts. I have an old-fashioned cell phone, which I keep off most of the time.
Sorry I forgot to add this. If you store information on the cloud law enforcement can get it from the provider without a subpoena. So what you store is an open book. I learned of this while taking a college business course called "The LegaL & Regulatory Environment of Business". To take your computer they need a subpoena. Facebook and all social media are not even required to inform you if some agency copies all of your information. The phone companies vary on their cooperation with agencies. Some just normally give them what they want without a question. It's politically correct.
So beware. I don't have anything that I'm trying to hide. All they have to do is ask and I'll gladly provide them with anything they want to know. Of course I lead a very boring life. My wife says that I'm a cheap date. I don't go to bars anymore, I haven't for many years. If I want to drink I do it at home. If I want to go somewhere and I have been drinking my wife drives. I don't do drugs other than something that comes from my doctor. I don't thieve. I haven't been in a fight in almost 20 years. It's amazing how easy it is to keep out of trouble if you quit hanging around bars.
Just in general if a criminal is stupid enough to carry a cell phone around with him I think it's a good thing for law enforcement. Anyone whosells Meth,Coke,Heroine, or any other killer drugs deserves what they get. It's simple "Don't do the Crime if you can't do the time".
Tech makes ya feel so safe dont it ?
Longing for the days the only time somone could bother you was if you were home .
And the only snitch you had to deal with was on ( STARSCY & HUTCH ) WHO ME OLD ?
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