Your every movement is tracked and sold Sep 2022

Why bother with warrants when cops can buy location data for under $10k?

Fog Data Science

As EFF technologist Will Greenberg wrote, referencing a St Louis cop talking about Fog’s database: “There is no PI [personal information] linked to the [device ID]. But, if we are good at what we do, we should be able to figure out the owner.”

That is to say, you just need the unique ID for the device and know where and when it’s been. Suddenly, it doesn’t sound so impossible figuring out who owns the device from the addresses they’ve visited and stayed at frequently – home, the office, and so on – and when.

We’re told that a basic annual subscription allows for 100 searches a month for device data, and more queries can be bought. The queries can return the timestamped movements of a particular device, or return all the available information about the phones within an area drawn on a map for a given timeframe.

“Police departments of all sizes have been using a system that stores and makes searchable the historical locations of individuals,” Lipton said.


The Federal Trade Commission has accused data broker Kochava of trampling over people’s privacy by selling the “precise” whereabouts of hundreds of millions of mobile devices.

The American watchdog alleged in a lawsuit that Kochava’s data feeds, which are sold via publicly accessible marketplaces, reveal individuals’ visits to reproductive health clinics, places of worship, homeless and domestic violence shelters, addiction recovery facilities, and other sensitive places.

These records, it is claimed, pinpoint – using timestamps and latitude and longitude values – when and where people have been.


NY Times article

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