The National Security Agency (N.S.A.) has started to come clean about tracking Americans cell phone data and what data was being collected. NSA admits to tracking the cell phone location of Americans in a test pilot project in 2010 and 2011.
According to the New York Times, “it was unclear how many Americans’ locational data was collected as part of the project, whether the agency has held on to that information or why the program did not go forward.”
NSA claimed that they never moved forward with the program. The “experiment” pilot project was to test how location information would move into the massive databases containing other information on Americans. Cell phone location is considered to be one of the most sensitive data that a cell phone emits, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Since most people carry their cell phones everywhere they go it is possible that the location data tracking could lead to the government knowing most intimate daily habits and movements of not only the person whose phone is being tracked but friends and family members whom the person had come into contact with throughout the day.
The biggest problem with NSA’s admission of the test pilot program is that it admitted to doing an illegal activity. NSA’s chief Keith Alexander said during a Senate hearing, “Under Section 215, NSA is not receiving cell site location data and has no current plans to do so.” The recent admission of past collection clearly violated Section 215 of the Patriot Act.
In order to counter-act negative reaction to the admission, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper told Congress that if they started their location recollection program they would inform the intelligence committee and FISA court. That means that Americans could still be kept in the dark if the program, a clear violation of the Patriot Act and one that brings up Fourth Amendment issues, were to become restarted.
I feel safer already, don’t you?
Cell phones are wonderful things. It’s my calendar, my address book, my phone, and Internet. I can read books, check the weather, play games and stay in contact with all my friends and family. Last minute plans can be changed and pictures can be shared. But we also have some dangers and privacy issues associated with cell phones, including the use of tracking tools by law enforcement agencies with little or no protection from this use.
We know that there are some risks associated with using our cell phones like:
The New York Times, using 5,500 pages of law enforcement documents received from an ACLU study on this topic, in this report reveals that the very organizations that are supposed to be keeping us safe, may be gaining information from our cell phones without us even knowing it and with little, if any rules or regulations governing this practice. Continue reading Cell phone tracking becomes common practice by law enforcement
So there are some companies out there that are marketing their products under the guise that their services will help you prevent Identity Theft.
Actually, there are HUNDREDS of companies marketing their “solutions” as things that will help you with Identity Theft.
Though there are many, we are going to pick on just two today.
Data Safe Wallets:
From the Press Release:
“Its new line of DataSafe Wallets(TM) for men and women (are) designed to protect the new ‘smart card’ credit cards from wireless identity theft.”
Well, yah, I guess you could say that you would be protecting your already encrypted smart card by having a wallet shielded with some sort of RF-blocking material. While this is a good idea in concept, it doesn’t really address Identity Theft. All it does is protect the cards in your wallet. Since the vast majority of Identity Theft doesn’t occur by someone grabbing your information wirelessly from an encrypted data stream, these wallets aren’t really helping people with the problem of identity theft.
Overall impact on helping people with Identity Theft? Minimal
Continue reading Companies marketing under guise of Identity Theft