We’ve already talked about facial recognition this month in the 4cast, so I’m not going to cover that again. Still, there’s been a lot of news recently about uses and abuses of the technology (in Chinese classrooms, New York schools, an Oregon sheriff’s department, your own emotions) that you may want to catch up on.
But I’d like to highlight a story that’s gotten much less attention, particularly when compared to coverage of how Cambridge Analytica exploited Facebook’s lax stewardship of customer data in its political consulting. Regardless of whether you have location sharing turned on, your wireless company knows where you are, and it shares that real-time location-tracking data to companies without your consent. Further, those companies in turn have been selling (or just giving away) that information.
- Service Meant to Monitor Inmates’ Calls Could Track You, Too [New York Times] “The service can find the whereabouts of almost any cellphone in the country within seconds. It does this by going through a system typically used by marketers and other companies to get location data from major cellphone carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.”
- Hacker Breaches Securus, the Company That Helps Cops Track Phones Across the US [Motherboard] “Although it’s not clear how many of these customers are using Securus’s phone geolocation service, the news still signals the incredibly lax security of a company that is granting law enforcement exceptional power to surveill individuals.”
- Tracking Firm LocationSmart Leaked Location Data for Customers of All Major U.S. Mobile Carriers Without Consent in Real Time Via Its Web Site [KrebsonSecurity] “Anyone with a modicum of knowledge about how Web sites work could abuse the LocationSmart demo site to figure out how to conduct mobile number location lookups at will, all without ever having to supply a password or other credentials.”
- The Privacy Scandal That Should Be Bigger Than Cambridge Analytica [Slate] “What the LocationSmart scandal lacks is not import, nor the potential for serious harm, but a link to some divisive political issue or societal outrage sufficient enough to generate visceral anger from people who aren’t privacy wonks.”
From the Ohio Web Library:
- “Risks Posed by Mobile Network Vulnerabilities.” USA Today Magazine, vol. 145, no. 2863, Apr. 2017, p. 8.
- “Securus Technologies, Inc.” Securus Technologies, Inc. Marketline Company Profile, 05 Apr. 2017, pp. 1-12.
- Shackford, Scott. “Let’s Not Blame Tech Tools If This Sheriff Illegally Violated People’s Privacy: Government, Not Private Companies, Is Supposed to Provide Oversight over Police Behavior.” Hit & Run, 11 May 2018, p. 1.