One more reason for privacy protections - CBP pulling location data

Article from Vice about location data ending up with the Border Patrol.

Thinking the hardware kill switches will mitigate this to some extent. Is this another scenario where the AweSIM helps?

1 Like

Not to a large extent - based on what the article says.

Earlier this month U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) paid nearly half a million dollars to a company that sells a product based on location data harvested from ordinary apps installed on peoples’ phones

Bottom line: Don’t run shady apps on your phone. If you choose to run a shady app on your phone then not much can really save you from yourself.

So the biggest difference in that case would be using a phone that runs only open source apps (which are assumed to have been audited for shadiness).

Depends of course on which kill switch you had in mind.

If you operate with all three switches “off” then you may achieve quite a lot to circumvent the problem but better, in this case, would be to deny the shady app access to information - rather than to deny yourself (full) use of your phone.

It goes without saying that the government can readily access tower tracking information if you have the cellular modem switched “on”. It may be true that:

The news highlights how law enforcement agencies continue to buy data that may in some cases require a warrant or court order to obtain.

but at the end of the day, the difference to the government is cost and convenience. If they want to “get you” and you have your cellular tracking device switched “on” then

you can make it easy for them - run shady app


you can make it harder for them - don’t run shady app and force them to get a warrant / court order

but they are probably going to go ahead with the latter if they want to “get you”.

Bear in mind that a court order could extend as far as extracting information from a company that is not a mobile network operator. So the primary goal is to prevent companies collecting information about you - and that means not running shady apps.

1 Like

i like how many times you used the words shady app(s)

it’s the real Slim Shady - please stand up ! :rofl:

The article asks but doesn’t answer the question: Is it ethical?

My answer, probably unsurprisingly, is “no”, it is not ethical.

It is not ethical on the part of the app, the data broker or the government.

The clear intent of the legislated requirement to get a warrant or court order is to have independent oversight in the process. The government is bypassing that.

The clear intent of the Fourth Amendment is that it is not “open slather” as far as the government searching for information and seizing it. The government is to some extent bypassing that.

It is doubtful that users of the app have given informed consent about the way in which collected information is really being used.

If you accept that the app and the government are behaving in unethical ways, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the data broker, in knowingly participating in this process, is therefore a co-conspirator in unethical behavior.

1 Like

I see that I didn’t comment on that.

If you run a shady app and you give genuine personally identifying information (PII) to the app then you are largely undermining the benefit of AweSIM.

Don’t run shady apps.

Is that enough occurrences of “shady app”, @reC? :slight_smile:

I second the use of “shady app” :grinning: I appreciate the thoughtful reply!

my 2 cents. if you want to thoroughly protect your data your IOT spits into the matrix (or at least make it harder for Slim-Shady to extract it by force ) then spend some time (as much as it is required for you to get a feel of your IOT’s permission-settings) while being completely air-gapped or at least ALL radios-set-to-OFF and massage those permissions to something you deem acceptable to you.

after you are done (or you believe so :wink: ) fire up those radios and meter the data flying over the horizon into the great abyss never to be recovered …

1 Like