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Leave Your Cellphone At Home, Says Jacob Appelbaum 306

An anonymous reader writes "N+1 has an interview with Jacob Appelbaum (who is part of the Tor project) titled 'Leave Your Cellphone at Home.'" Jacob has a lot to say about privacy, data security, and surveillance. He ought to know. Among other things, he's had his email seized, been relieved of his phone, been the subject of a National Security Letter (video) and generally had his travel disrupted.
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Leave Your Cellphone At Home, Says Jacob Appelbaum

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  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <> on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:00PM (#41224479)

    There, fixed that for ya. Amazing how they managed to get darned near 100% of the population to agree to carry around a tracking device with nary a peep. All it took was to be very careful to NOT talk about the tracking ability, keep news accounts of the police using the cell data off the front page and make the tracker shiny and useful enough. Do those things and not only will everyone carry one they will pay an average of $50/mo for the privledge. Land of the Free indeed.

    Won't be long now before they decide they have the hook set deep enough they can start making more overt use of the location/activity data without many people ditching their tracker.

    The carriers WILL start renting out access to track data for advertising purposes. They know where and when you are. They will be able to link that beyond your phone. Won't take much computation to get that localized enough to have a good idea which PC you use and then tie it to doubleclick and google's cookies. Then they know EVERYTHING. Combine a tracking cookie to hard billing quality identification data and the possibilities are truly limitless. Sure they COULD do that with Amazon but there is too great a chance of a user revolt. But people won't/can't give up their iShiny.

    What law enforcement will do with the data is so obvious and so dark there isn't much point in hammering it again really. Especially combined with security cameras everywhere. Who cares if the image quality isn't good enough for a positive id or you were wearing a hoodie. It gives a time/location and the tracker gives them who was at that spot in spacetime.

    Bust a drug dealer and you have probable cause to grab a trace on everyone who came in contact with that person for the last month. Crunch the numbers enough and lots of patterns emerge. Not quite precrime but close enough. You show up as having been in the room with a number of dealers and that will be your ass. Or be around a few people who later get busted for burgulary and how soon until that is cause for a search warrant on your place? Being able to effortlessly work backwards from a bust and turn up clues like that will change the law enforcement game entirely.

    And now you see why AT&T yanked all their payphones and for some reason simply refuses to compete in the landline business, even with billions and billions in sunk costs for all that wire going everywhere. Eliminate hardlines and everyone MUST buy a cell. It is already sorta odd to encounter someone who doesn't carry one, eventually it will be reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Wouldn't suprise me if they become the preferred physical identifier, i.e. 'your papers.'

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:03PM (#41224527)

    If todays phones are nothing more than tracking devices for the government and anybody with the right tools to know where we are at all times, then why are we paying for this?

    I mean facebook is free and collects tons of information, yet we pay to use our phones and it collects our information the same way...

  • by EnergyScholar ( 801915 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:17PM (#41224707)

    Why was this last comment modded down, and by whom? It seems like a pretty good comment to me. Who, besides a forum spy [], would want to keep the above comment out of sight?

  • Solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ADRA ( 37398 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:19PM (#41224751)

    "And don't even get me started about how unsecure your fingertips are."

    Hot irons

  • by TheGratefulNet ( 143330 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:32PM (#41224909)

    if you pay for it, you think you have gotton value.

    if they gave it away for free, you'd think it was worthless.

    perceived value.

    just like sms is seen as having value when its just spare bytes that are always there on every packet, no matter what! costing nothing but they convince you that you need YET ANOTHER form of email and they gave it a cute next, texting.

    what a nice scam to be in on. if you're the unethical type, that is.

  • by masternerdguy ( 2468142 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:33PM (#41224927)
    holy tinfoil
  • Yeah right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:37PM (#41225013)

    Anyone who thinks leaving a cell phone at home, powered off, or in airplane mode is an option obviously doesn't have a wife.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @01:57PM (#41225255)

    Exactly so.

    Welcome to the fascist United Snakes of Amerika, Inkorporated, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the international bankster cabal. "1984" and "Brave New World" were supposed to be dire warnings of a possible alternative future, not an operations manual for the Powers That Be.

    We are tracked by our cell phones, our automobiles (OnStar) & license plate cameras, the public cloud of face recognition video surveillance cameras, UAV drones equipped with FLIR & Hellfire missiles, cancer-inducing naked body scanners, lamp-posts with microphones tied to Fusion center-based voice recognition computers, our home computers hacked by the Police State to remotely turn on embedded cameras and which monitor every keystroke, and even SmartMeters that monitor every home appliance. Next on their agenda -- the end of cash, and universal RFID "chipping".

    The old Soviet Block Stasi & KGB would be very envious of "our" national security surveillance police state grid.
    "Your papers, please."
    You will submit to public strip searches & full body cavity searches by the army of TSA pedophiles that only change their gloves when they wear them out or tear a hole in them.

  • by crazyjj ( 2598719 ) * on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:06PM (#41225387)

    There could come a time very soon when NOT carrying a cellphone will be viewed as evidence of criminal activity in-and-of itself. Much like not carrying an ID can get you thrown in jail today, tomorrow's cops may well toss you into the clinker for not carrying a cellphone (i.e. tracking device).

  • by mrex ( 25183 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:28PM (#41225673)

    nothing says "I can't win an argument" like organizing a movement to silence the few of us around here who don't toe the Party line.

    Hear, hear. We might be on completely opposite ends of the political spectrum, but democracy is dead if we allow that to mean we can't have a civilized conversation with each other about the issues. Kudos to you for putting your beliefs out there for examination and peer review, and shame on the people who are trying to silence you instead of responding to your cogent and valuable posts.

  • Re:Yeah right. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <> on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @02:32PM (#41225731)

    You do realize that for all of human history up until the late 1990's most of the world lived perfectly happy, fulfilled lives without a cell phone, right? You really don't need to be connected to everyone else all of the time. Try silencing the damned thing once in a while and connect with the meatsacks around you at the moment.

    > living in the basement, and having no contact with society.

    Just the opposite, depending on all this tech too much is what makes you a virtual hermit with no real contact with humans.

  • Re:Yeah right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @03:21PM (#41226355)
    Did you know that in Victorian Cambridge and London (that I know about for sure) there were several mail collections and deliveries PER DAY, and if even a typical 4 hour turnaround wasn't fast enough there were messenger boys. Australian businessmen paid for underwater cable to allow the late Victorian equivalent of high frequency trading in the futures market of the day (wool, for instance). The Roman Empire depended on a network of staged horses and fast riders, so that in an emergency a message could get from Londinium to Aquae Sulis in a couple of days, when a cart would take a week. People have always wanted to communicate as fast as technology would allow, and there have always been people who would pay a premium for it.

    Now it has been democratised. Indian peasants can use a mobile phone to find the market offering the best price for their produce. Nepalese herders can decide the best time to bring their goats to market. For a lot of people who don't live in the US, the cellular phone is literally transforming their lives. You can only take the attitude you do because you live in a rich society and are insulated from the factors that have held most people in the world back economically. One of those factors is lack of access to fast, reliable communications.

  • Re:Funny, this (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @03:23PM (#41226371)

    'cause he is apparently well-off enough to be able to afford a lawyer.

    It's not so much 'DWB' (although that's part of it) a lot more of it is 'DWP' - Driving while [obviously] poor.


"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger