Cell Phone Companies Tracking Your Location Every Seven Seconds

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Offline ekimdrachir

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Cell Phone Companies Tracking Your Location Every Seven Seconds

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kow8xrVVa7I

Noam Cohen explains.

More from Noam
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/26/business/media/26privacy.html?_r=1&ref=noamcohen

It’s Tracking Your Every Move and You May Not Even Know
By NOAM COHEN
Published: March 26, 2011

A favorite pastime of Internet users is to share their location: services like Google Latitude can inform friends when you are nearby; another, Foursquare, has turned reporting these updates into a game.

But as a German Green party politician, Malte Spitz, recently learned, we are already continually being tracked whether we volunteer to be or not. Cellphone companies do not typically divulge how much information they collect, so Mr. Spitz went to court to find out exactly what his cellphone company, Deutsche Telekom, knew about his whereabouts.

The results were astounding. In a six-month period — from Aug 31, 2009, to Feb. 28, 2010, Deutsche Telekom had recorded and saved his longitude and latitude coordinates more than 35,000 times. It traced him from a train on the way to Erlangen at the start through to that last night, when he was home in Berlin.

Mr. Spitz has provided a rare glimpse — an unprecedented one, privacy experts say — of what is being collected as we walk around with our phones. Unlike many online services and Web sites that must send “cookies” to a user’s computer to try to link its traffic to a specific person, cellphone companies simply have to sit back and hit “record.”

“We are all walking around with little tags, and our tag has a phone number associated with it, who we called and what we do with the phone,” said Sarah E. Williams, an expert on graphic information at Columbia University’s architecture school. “We don’t even know we are giving up that data.”

Tracking a customer’s whereabouts is part and parcel of what phone companies do for a living. Every seven seconds or so, the phone company of someone with a working cellphone is determining the nearest tower, so as to most efficiently route calls. And for billing reasons, they track where the call is coming from and how long it has lasted.

“At any given instant, a cell company has to know where you are; it is constantly registering with the tower with the strongest signal,” said Matthew Blaze, a professor of computer and information science at the University of Pennsylvania who has testified before Congress on the issue.

Mr. Spitz’s information, Mr. Blaze pointed out, was not based on those frequent updates, but on how often Mr. Spitz checked his e-mail.

Mr. Spitz, a privacy advocate, decided to be extremely open with his personal information. Late last month, he released all the location information in a publicly accessible Google Document, and worked with Zeit Online, a sister publication of a prominent German newspaper, Die Zeit, to map those coordinates over time.

“This is really the most compelling visualization in a public forum I have ever seen,” said Mr. Blaze, adding that it “shows how strong a picture even a fairly low-resolution location can give.”

In an interview from Berlin, Mr. Spitz explained his reasons: “It was an important point to show this is not some kind of a game. I thought about it, if it is a good idea to publish all the data — I also could say, O.K., I will only publish it for five, 10 days maybe. But then I said no, I really want to publish the whole six months.”

In the United States, telecommunication companies do not have to report precisely what material they collect, said Kevin Bankston, a lawyer at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who specializes in privacy. He added that based on court cases he could say that “they store more of it and it is becoming more precise.”

“Phones have become a necessary part of modern life,” he said, objecting to the idea that “you have to hand over your personal privacy to be part of the 21st century.”

In the United States, there are law enforcement and safety reasons for cellphone companies being encouraged to keep track of its customers. Both the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration have used cellphone records to identify suspects and make arrests.

If the information is valuable to law enforcement, it could be lucrative for marketers. The major American cellphone providers declined to explain what exactly they collect and what they use it for.

Verizon, for example, declined to elaborate other than to point to its privacy policy, which includes: “Information such as call records, service usage, traffic data,” the statement in part reads, may be used for “marketing to you based on your use of the products and services you already have, subject to any restrictions required by law.”

AT&T, for example, works with a company, Sense Networks, that uses anonymous location information “to better understand aggregate human activity.” One product, CitySense, makes recommendations about local nightlife to customers who choose to participate based on their cellphone usage. (Many smartphone apps already on the market are based on location but that’s with the consent of the user and through GPS, not the cellphone company’s records.)

Because of Germany’s history, courts place a greater emphasis on personal privacy. Mr. Spitz first went to court to get his entire file in 2009 but Deutsche Telekom objected.

For six months, he said, there was a “Ping Pong game” of lawyers’ letters back and forth until, separately, the Constitutional Court there decided that the existing rules governing data retention, beyond those required for billing and logistics, were illegal. Soon thereafter, the two sides reached a settlement: “I only get the information that is related to me, and I don’t get all the information like who am I calling, who sent me a SMS and so on,” Mr. Spitz said, referring to text messages.

Even so, 35,831 pieces of information were sent to him by Deutsche Telekom as an encrypted file, to protect his privacy during its transmission.

Deutsche Telekom, which owns T-Mobile, Mr. Spitz’s carrier, wrote in an e-mail that it stored six months’ of data, as required by the law, and that after the court ruling it “immediately ceased” storing data.

And a year after the court ruling outlawing this kind of data retention, there is a movement to try to get a new, more limited law passed. Mr. Spitz, at 26 a member of the Green Party’s executive board, says he released that material to influence that debate.

“I want to show the political message that this kind of data retention is really, really big and you can really look into the life of people for six months and see what they are doing where they are.”

While the potential for abuse is easy to imagine, in Mr. Spitz’s case, there was not much revealed.

“I really spend most of the time in my own neighborhood, which was quite funny for me,” he said. “I am not really walking that much around.”

Any embarrassing details? “The data shows that I am flying sometimes,” he said, rather than taking a more fuel-efficient train. “Something not that popular for a Green politician.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: March 26, 2011

An earlier version of this article misstated Malte Spitz's partner in the mapping project. He worked with Zeit Online, not Die Zeit. Zeit Online is a sister publication of Die Zeit.

Offline larsonstdoc

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Re: Cell Phone Companies Tracking Your Location Every Seven Seconds
« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2011, 10:56:07 PM »



  We should really screw them up by trading phones with friends.
I'M A DEPLORABLE KNUCKLEHEAD THAT SUPPORTS PRESIDENT TRUMP.  MAY GOD BLESS HIM AND KEEP HIM SAFE.

Offline Kilika

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Re: Cell Phone Companies Tracking Your Location Every Seven Seconds
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2011, 07:26:56 AM »


  We should really screw them up by trading phones with friends.

They're up on that. Their solution is biometrics. I believe they intend for the system to allow a person to use any device, if they have the proper biometric ID, that will identify who is actually using the phone or pc. I see "throw away" cells as becoming a thing of the past in the near future.

And for those who might say "What prevents a person from allowing another to use the phone, as in one person makes the connection, then hands it to another person to talk, etc? I think they got that covered by implementing facial recognition or iris scans. If you don't rescan/log-in when prompted, then it hangs up maybe, and maybe even sends out an alert that a fraudulent call was made.
"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
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Offline larsonstdoc

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Re: Cell Phone Companies Tracking Your Location Every Seven Seconds
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2011, 09:01:26 AM »
They're up on that. Their solution is biometrics. I believe they intend for the system to allow a person to use any device, if they have the proper biometric ID, that will identify who is actually using the phone or pc. I see "throw away" cells as becoming a thing of the past in the near future.

And for those who might say "What prevents a person from allowing another to use the phone, as in one person makes the connection, then hands it to another person to talk, etc? I think they got that covered by implementing facial recognition or iris scans. If you don't rescan/log-in when prompted, then it hangs up maybe, and maybe even sends out an alert that a fraudulent call was made.

  When the time comes, we'll THROW AWAY OUR PHONES and go to our mountain hide-out.  This stuff is good to know.  We have never taken our cell phones there. 
I'M A DEPLORABLE KNUCKLEHEAD THAT SUPPORTS PRESIDENT TRUMP.  MAY GOD BLESS HIM AND KEEP HIM SAFE.

Offline ekimdrachir

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Re: Cell Phone Companies Tracking Your Location Every Seven Seconds
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2011, 06:37:06 PM »
I think in ten years cell phones will be obsolete.

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Re: Cell Phone Companies Tracking Your Location Every Seven Seconds
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2011, 06:44:39 PM »
I still don't understand why people need a portable phone now if they didn't need it 25 years ago. As our lives changed so much that we must be accept to be constantly bothered by phone calls? Even when it causes huge health risks?

Must be the result of social conditioning.

Offline larsonstdoc

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Re: Cell Phone Companies Tracking Your Location Every Seven Seconds
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2011, 07:01:21 PM »
I think in ten years cell phones will be obsolete.

  Yep, we'll probably get brain chips that will act like phones---brain cancer anyone?
I'M A DEPLORABLE KNUCKLEHEAD THAT SUPPORTS PRESIDENT TRUMP.  MAY GOD BLESS HIM AND KEEP HIM SAFE.

Offline Geolibertarian

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Re: Cell Phone Companies Tracking Your Location Every Seven Seconds
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2011, 07:22:00 PM »
I still don't understand why people need a portable phone now if they didn't need it 25 years ago. As our lives changed so much that we must be accept to be constantly bothered by phone calls? Even when it causes huge health risks?

Must be the result of social conditioning.

That certainly seems to be the case:

---------------------------

http://www.willthomasonline.net/Attack_Of_The_Cell_Phone_Zombie.html

ATTACK OF THE CELL PHONE ZOMBIES

By William Thomas



They are everywhere.

And they are winning.

Walk down virtually any metropolitan street, if you still dare, and you will discern with a jolt of alarm that no one around you is aware of each other's presence or their surroundings as they shuffle past with the shambling gait of automatons. Hearing blocked by blaring or blathering headsets, heads bent over cell phones, iPods, palm pilots, multimedia players, text messagers and other hypnotic gadgetry, these walking dead with their vacant stares are so far departed from the reality around them they don't even know they're gone.

Cell phone zombies are proliferating everywhere. Spread by the most virulent contagion on Earth - the lust to own and continuously jack into wireless technology - addictive endorphin jolts sent by cell phones to the brain threaten agonizing withdrawal, even as their invisible emanations attack the frontal lobes, short-circuiting memory, awareness and cognitive thought.

Succumbing to the identical marketing strategies marshaled by the same advertising agencies pushing tobacco onto children, hordes of cell phone zombies as young as four-years-old are replacing normal human relationships with the cold calculus of truncated text messages, while disturbing their sonic space and interrupting conversations with friends and spouses to jabber with ghosts who are not even present, even as they spread the blight of their second hand microwaves among the last pockets of cell phone resistance.

Unlike the flesh-munching ghouls depicted in Hollywood horror flicks, which die and “reanimate” through the transmission of the Solanum virus through a usually gruesome exchange of bodily fluids, “voodoo zombies” are created by potions and spells cast by Haitian hougnan priests.

“Zombie powder,” as Max Brooks notes in his essential ZOMBIE Survival Guide, “contains a very powerful neurotoxin” not unlike the pervasive brain-eating chemicals added to food, soft drinks and other drugs - including (as we have seen elsewhere in this book) fluoride, aspartame and mercury. Separately and in combination, these insidious compounds are synergistically activated by pulsating electromagnetic emissions that mimic and override normal cellular functioning to destroy brain neurons and turn people into zombies.

Held entranced as their life force is leached away by devices eerily similar in size and shape to the voodoo dolls used to cast curses, cell phone zombies are especially dangerous, because unlike real Solanum-inducted zombies incapable of expressing feelings or speech, cell phone zombies can appear nearly normal when not jacked in. A real zombie, when it encounters you, “will home in like a smart bomb,” Brooks explains, and start gnawing your face. A cell phone-voodoo zombie “will take a moment to try to figure out who or what you are.”

Smiling a reflexive, unfelt apology for their intrusion - even “growling if hurt or provoked” as Brooks describes - many cell phone zombies “understand words; some even understand simple sentences [and] possess the ability to speak - simply, of course - and rarely for extended conversations.”

TILL ZOMOBIES RIP US APART

While not known to devour human flesh like “real” zombies, their mindless preoccupation with themselves, slavish fixation on meaningless distractions, and complete disregard for their rapidly deteriorating ecologic, economic and Constitutional environment threaten to spill from the worst zomboid infestations in the United States across the entire globe.

Certainly, the carnage caused by their mindless wars against non-threatening nations on which American zombies project their paranoia is consuming bone and gristle, hopes and dreams by the boxcar loads. With more than one million people - mostly children - killed in Iraq since 2003 by zombie-like GIs hopped up on anti-malarial pills and Dexedrine, fear, stress, exhaustion and the potent spells of patriotism and “revenge” for non-existent crimes, America's blindly-following zombie legions are as dangerous to any country they overrun as the horrors described by Brooks in his best-selling account of the zombie wars.

[Continued...]


Health: Teens & Text Addiction

by Stephanie Stahl
CBS Philly
Aug 24, 2010

PHILADELPHIA (CBS 3) ― Teenagers are becoming addicted to texting, according to a new study. In fact experts are saying being hooked on texting can be like being addicted to drugs.



Walking, sitting, it doesn't matter where it happens, teenagers seem to need to text. Statistics show 80 percent of all 15 to 18-year-olds own a cell phone. And the rate of texting has sky rocketed 600 percent in three years. The average teen sends 3,000 texts a month.

"I think that it's just like a drug, once you get hooked on to it, you can't let go. It's like whenever I open my eyes the first thing I look at is my phone," said Hermine Vardanian, a texter.

"It clearly fits the criteria of an addiction," said Dr. Gary Small, a Psychiatrist.

Neuroimaging studies show the same brain areas are stimulated with both texting and using heroin.

"In a very primitive part of the brain, the dopamine system gets triggered. That's the general reward system in our brain," said Dr. Small.

Some texting addiction warning signs include losing track of time because of excessive texting, neglecting eating and sleeping, having a constant need for more, and suffering negative repercussions, like ignoring others or lying because of texting.

Chronic texters actually say they feel bad when they don't get a text. All the more reason to text even more people.

[Continued...]

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Pathetic and sad, is it not?
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline ekimdrachir

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Re: Cell Phone Companies Tracking Your Location Every Seven Seconds
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2011, 07:27:20 PM »





Offline ekimdrachir

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Re: Cell Phone Companies Tracking Your Location Every Seven Seconds
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2011, 10:14:55 PM »
Phil talks about texting too http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdFAqD2-XC0
Apparently texting while driving makes you as impaired as when you are drunk.

Offline freedom_commonsense

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Re: Cell Phone Companies Tracking Your Location Every Seven Seconds
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2011, 11:22:58 PM »
That certainly seems to be the case:

If you need to work in the field, especially away from any fixed lines, it's practical to have some form of communication device on you. Some companies I've with worked provide a phone so I could be contacted for work purposes. This might also be helpful if you go on a hiking expedition...etc etc.

That said, your point is well taken - I would advise against the level of use being described in the linked articles.


Offline infowarrior_039

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Re: Cell Phone Companies Tracking Your Location Every Seven Seconds
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2011, 03:32:16 AM »
I agree I worked for tmobile USA in PDA 398 tech support and their iHLR program would track you by the towers and update every few seconds we often booted off the towers they had a number thAt could be used to determine location . One day a coworker got a call from a buisness account that was either a jail or a security company that was using tmobile service to track prisoners with wrist or ankle bracelets with a SIM card off the towers. The problem was the tracking was not working right and  some managers  got it escalated to higher ups but it was an interesting story confirmed by workers on the floor while I was working. So yes, they track you. You are slaves of the matrix

This happened last year actually 2010

Offline shipgeek

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Re: Cell Phone Companies Tracking Your Location Every Seven Seconds
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2011, 03:37:34 AM »
No chance they can track me on mobile phone. I don't have one.
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Offline infowarrior_039

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Re: Cell Phone Companies Tracking Your Location Every Seven Seconds
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2011, 04:01:49 AM »
Here's proof that prisoner /offenders being tracked with SIMS and cellphone service as I described

http://www.aoc.state.nc.us/www/ids/Defender%20Training/2010%20Spring%20Conference/SatelliteBasedMonitoring.pdf

http://www.elmotech.com/default.asp?PageID=196


Quote
Key Features:

Multiple tracking modes: active, passive and hybrid
Multiple Communication protocols: GSM, GPRS, Landline (PSTN)
Secondary cellular location (LBS)
Quicker GPS acquisition through Assisted GPS (AGPS)
Advanced mapping and path surveillance capabilities
Fully secured presence monitoring at fixed locations
Communication platform of choice with monitoring center for effective cost management - cellular or landline.

Offline Kilika

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Re: Cell Phone Companies Tracking Your Location Every Seven Seconds
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2011, 06:20:51 AM »
Back away from the "smart"phone and nobody gets hurt!
"For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
1 Timothy 6:10 (KJB)