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[liberationtech] iPhones/iPads secretly track 'scary amount' of your movements
email at franciscorrigan.com
Thu Apr 21 11:26:30 PDT 2011
Thanks for the cellebrite.com info, they are mentioned in an article
posted today which notes that ACLU has submitted 70 Freedom of
Information requests to Michigan Police, but still without disclosure
about it's use of cellebrite technology
Cops refuse to say if they secretly snarf cellphone data
iPhone? More Like iSpy!
----- Original message -----
From: "Rafal Rohozinski" <r.rohozinski at psiphon.ca>
To: "Liberation Technologies" <liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 22:51:53 -0400
Subject: Re: [liberationtech] iPhones/iPads secretly track 'scary
amount' of your movements
It's not just iPhones that record vast amount of data that can be easily
geo-located and reconstruct person's movements, networks, and personal
communication - any cell phone going back 15 years stores data through
log files, message and SMS traffic that can be reconstructed and
retrieved to create pretty comprehensive profiles of usage and location.
Devices that do forensic extraction (UFED) are quite widespread and in
use throughout police forces intelligence agencies as well as most
cellular carriers around the world. For those of you for whom this is
a revelation, I'd advise you to take a look at this website of a leading
provider of UFEDs. There are some interesting videos, and once you're
done, take a look at where this company has it's permanent
Time for a reality check. Mobile phones are essentially digital dogtags
so if you're concerned about the ability they have to track your
movements and communications - do like Osama, use exclusively
off-line means through trusted intermediaries. Otherwise accepting
that cell phones are a risk to privacy is just the flip side of the
convenience that these devices bring. With or without Apple networks
are essentially spiderwebs - that's the essence of modern signals
It's worrisome that there are a lot of myths among the activist
community about cell phone security. True, you can "drive up the
negatives" and make it more difficult for a casual actor to scan or
obtain PII from your phone ( so I I agree with Nathan) - but if
you're up against well resourced opponents, most of these tools plain
ineffective and their very presence on your phone may be more of a
giveaway that actually makes you more of a a target of interest.
Unfortunately security is not a product or something you can buy
shrink-wrapped in code. Its practice and process and ultimately comes
down to the risks you're willing to take in the service of an objective
or cause. And if you want to play in the big tent, it's good
old-fashioned tradecraft and not better toys that make a difference.
On Apr 20, 2011, at 5:43 PM, Frank Corrigan wrote:
> I am aware of the general principle of mobile phone tracking, it is just
> that most people assume this data is only accessible via cell tower
> providers or via a court order/lawful request, not recorded on the
> device itself and accessible in an easy to read format to anyone who has
> access and inclination or has impounded it for law enforcement purposes.
> I suppose it's a bit like the Windows IE index.dat files. Now of course
> anyone crossing a USA border can have such devices taken away and such
> location data easily copied for later in-situ analysis.
> ----- Original message -----
> From: "Nathan Freitas" <nathan at freitas.net>
> To: "Frank Corrigan" <email at franciscorrigan.com>, "Liberation
> Technologies" <liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu>
> Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 16:20:13 -0400
> Subject: Re: [liberationtech] iPhones/iPads secretly track 'scary
> amount' of your movements
> On 04/20/2011 03:55 PM, Frank Corrigan wrote:
>> More reasons for activists/protesters in hostile (ordinary) environments
>> not to bring along their mobile phone, latest cell connected gizmo.
> ... and return to megaphones, flags, smoke signals, carrier pigeons and
> frantic arm waving instead? If our ordinary environments are truly
> hostile, then either we give up ever using a mobile phone, or we find
> some way to address the problem.
> Don't get me wrong, this latest revelation on mobile privacy is indeed
> scary, and Apple better fess up. I just think we can fix these issues,
> instead of allowing them to be disempowering.
> In this case at least, turning your phone into "airplane mode" would
> have stopped the phone from broadcasting its availability to and
> registering with mobile towers. This would stop the active triangulation
> of your location from being logged into the local iOS database.
> I have an "airplane mode" icon on my Android phone home screen. Anytime
> I am not expecting an important call, or am reachable by another means
> (email, IM, irc), I generally activate it. Not only does it reduce my
> location footprint data trail, but it also saves quite a bit of battery
> I also like Google's Latitude Dashboard which encourages user to really
> "own it" when it comes to mobile location data tracking. They have a
> really pretty UI, charts, etc, that can show you how many minutes a day
> you spend at home, the gym, work or your local pub. Their point is that
> if government and mobile phone operators already have this data, why
> shouldn't you (the user and human being tracked) also benefit from it?
> All in all, we shouldn't cede the advantage technology can bring to the
> movements and causes we care about because developers at Apple and Skype
> (see their recent issue with Android app data permissions) are clearly
> make very bad decisions about how they implement their closed-source
> liberationtech mailing list
> liberationtech at lists.stanford.edu
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