U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

More than 12 million Americans, 50 billion location signals, 0 privacy… The New York Times reported Thursday that it has uncovered a shocking location-tracking document obtained by the Times Privacy Project. Each of the messages in the document represents the exact location of a smartphone in a few months in 2016 and 2017, from Washington to New York to San Francisco, with more than 50 billion location signals from more than 12 million Americans.

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

Photo by The New York Times

By analyzing these data, the whereabouts of many of America’s most famous and political figures have been exposed, including intelligence agents, Pentagon officials… Even U.S. President Donald Trump’s whereabouts can be accurately traced.

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

The document was provided to The New York Times by anonymous sources, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to share the data and could face severe penalties. The source said he had begun to worry that the practice could be abused and was eager to inform the public and lawmakers that he turned the document over to the New York Times.

At every moment, dozens of companies are largely unregulated and uncensored to record tens of millions of people’s activities through cell phone location and store information in a huge database, the report said. Although this is the largest and most sensitive document ever reviewed by a journalist, it is just the tip of the iceberg…

When a smartphone becomes a small bright spot on the map, a person’s whereabouts are no longer a secret. For example, on the NYSE:

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

On the los Angeles coast:

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

Even at the Pentagon:

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

At the White House:

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

At Sea Lake Manor:

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

The data does not come from telecommunications providers or large technology companies, nor from the government, but from a data-location company. Companies that collect precise location information based on software location services may never be heard of, but for anyone with access to the data, a person’s life is an open book.

Depending on the data, you can see wherever you go at any time of the day, and a little analysis will tell you who you meet or spend the night with, whether you’re at a clinic, a psychiatrist’s office or a massage parlour.

Indeed, location information contains billions of data points, no identifiable information such as names or email addresses. But, the report says, finding the owner of the point on the map is a simple thing.

For example, this is a moment in Central Park all the mobile phones:

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

Randomly select the location point sits for one of the phones:

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

Then you can tell from a huge database where the phone has been around for a while:

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

By connecting these points, the phone owner’s itinerary is obvious. Based on the map and the person’s residence information, the identity is obvious:

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

How do I track Trump?

Businesses always claim that the data is anonymous and use it as a major selling point to allay concerns.

But Paul Ohm, a law professor at Georgetown University’s Law Center, told the New York Times that it was “completely wrong” to describe location data as anonymous and that “truly accurate, vertical geographic information cannever be anonymous.” If there’s anything more difficult to anonymize than accurate geographic information, it’s DNA. ”

No one, including the president of the United States, can escape this ongoing digital surveillance, the report said. 20, the New York Times published an article on how to track Trump based on the data.

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

First, at the Lake Lake estate in Palm Beach, Florida, u.S. Southern Florida, the small highlights on the map indicate the exact location of Mr. Trump’s entourage at 7:10 a.m. At the time, Trump stayed there for about an hour.

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

At 9:24 a.m., the little spot appeared at Trump’s local golf club. Mr. Trump was here to play golf with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

That point stayed there until 1:12 p.m. He then returned for a private lunch with other leaders.

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

At 5:08 p.m., the little highlight returned to The Lake Manor.

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

That evening, Mr. Trump held another working dinner with Mr. Abe.

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

The highlight also appeared dozens of times at the U.S. Secret Service office, as well as at events held by officials. . . The New York Times said the tracked cell phone belonged to a Secret Service agent and his home was clearly visible through data. The Secret Service declined to comment.

According to the database, we were able to track smartphones in almost all of Washington’s major government buildings and facilities, tracking their home and eventually getting the true identity of their owners, the report said.

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

The trajectory of senior United States officials and security personnel can be seen through the database:

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

This is the Pentagon’s day:

U.S. media reveal shocking documents: More than 12 million Americans are being tracked down

The report says companies that collect information about these activities have three reasons to justify their business: people agree to be tracked, the data is anonymous, and the data is secure.

As mentioned above, “anonymity” is essentially impossible. The report points out that due to the lack of law, the industry is largely dependent on and self-monitoring. And even if these companies follow the most robust ethical principles, they will not end up with nothing.

For marketers, the information is the Holy Grail, which connects people’s interests to offline and offline activities and lets companies know what their customers want and why they want them.

In political campaigns, people can use this information to analyze the interests of assembly participants, and so on, and to manipulate specific groups. More importantly, these companies cannot guarantee that the data will not fall into the hands of foreign agencies.

The person who provided the data to The New York Times urged regulators to step up scrutiny of the targeting market through media coverage, the report said. After all, until now, Washington has done nothing to address these threats. The federal government has no protections in place to limit the private use or sharing of such data, and Congress has yet to debate such protections.

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