MakeUseOf: How Google Uses Your Phone to Predict Traffic and Plan Trips

MakeUseOf: How Google Uses Your Phone to Predict Traffic and Plan Trips . “Phones work diligently to help us with our daily life, so much so that sometimes we don’t even know what data it’s sending back to servers around the world. For example, did you know that your phone can be used by Google Maps to help predict traffic jams on the road? Let’s explore how you’re helping Google without realizing it, and how to turn it off if you don’t like this feature.”

Washington Post: Smartphone data shows out-of-state visitors flocked to Georgia as restaurants and other businesses reopened

Washington Post: Smartphone data shows out-of-state visitors flocked to Georgia as restaurants and other businesses reopened. “One week after Georgia allowed dine-in restaurants, hair salons and other businesses to reopen, an additional 62,440 visitors arrived there daily, most from surrounding states where such businesses remained shuttered, according to an analysis of smartphone location data. Researchers at the University of Maryland say the data provides some of the first hard evidence that reopening some state economies ahead of others could potentially worsen and prolong the spread of the novel coronavirus. Any impetus to travel, public health experts say, increases the number of people coming into contact with each other and raises the risk of transmission.”

Berkeley Haas: Open-source smartphone database offers a new tool for tracking coronavirus exposure

Berkeley Haas: Open-source smartphone database offers a new tool for tracking coronavirus exposure. “The Covid-19 Exposure Indices, created by Berkeley Haas Asst. Prof. Victor Couture and researchers from Yale, Princeton, the University of Chicago, and the University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with location data company PlaceIQ, is aimed at academic investigators studying the spread of the pandemic. The data sets allow researchers to visualize how people can potentially be exposed to those infected with the virus, based on cell-phone movements to and from businesses and other locations where a great deal of the exposure happens.”

EurekAlert: Bluetooth signals from your smartphone could automate COVID-19 contact tracing

EurekAlert: Bluetooth signals from your smartphone could automate COVID-19 contact tracing. “A team led by MIT researchers and including experts from many institutions is developing a system that augments ‘manual’ contact tracing by public health officials, while preserving the privacy of all individuals. The system relies on short-range Bluetooth signals emitted from people’s smartphones. These signals represent random strings of numbers, likened to ‘chirps’ that other nearby smartphones can remember hearing.”

CNET: Senators raise privacy questions about Google’s COVID-19 tracker

CNET: Senators raise privacy questions about Google’s COVID-19 tracker. “Two US senators want to make sure Google’s COVID-19 tracker isn’t infringing on millions of people’s privacy. In a letter sent to Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Tuesday, Sens. Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal raised questions about how the tech giant’s tracker is ensuring that the location data it’s collecting and presenting stays confidential.”

The Verge: Google location data turned a random biker into a burglary suspect

The Verge: Google location data turned a random biker into a burglary suspect. “A Florida man who used a fitness app to track his bike rides found himself a suspect in a burglary when police used a geofence warrant to collect data from nearby devices, an NBC News investigation finds. Zachary McCoy had never been in the home where the burglary occurred, but by leaving his location settings on for the RunKeeper app, he unwittingly provided information about his whereabouts to Google, which placed him at the scene of the crime.”

New York Times: F.C.C. to Fine Cellphone Carriers for Selling Customers’ Locations

New York Times: F.C.C. to Fine Cellphone Carriers for Selling Customers’ Locations . “The Federal Communications Commission is set to propose about $200 million in fines against four major cellphone carriers for selling customers’ real-time location data, according to three people briefed on the discussions.”

Mashable: FCC confirms wireless carriers broke federal law by selling location data

Mashable: FCC confirms wireless carriers broke federal law by selling location data. “At the center of the investigation are all four major U.S. carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. It is unclear at this time which groups will be penalized, and what that penalty will look like. Further documentation on the specifics of the violation is forthcoming.”

The Register: To catch a thief, go to Google with a geofence warrant – and it will give you all the details

The Register: To catch a thief, go to Google with a geofence warrant – and it will give you all the details . “At 1030 on April 27, 2019, four unidentified individuals attempted to rob a Brinks armored truck parked outside of Michaels, an art supply and home decor store at the Point Loomis Shopping Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. To find out who they are, local authorities plan to ask Google.”

New York Times: How Your Phone Betrays Democracy

New York Times: How Your Phone Betrays Democracy. “In the United States, and across the world, any protester who brings a phone to a public demonstration is tracked and that person’s presence at the event is duly recorded in commercial datasets. At the same time, political parties are beginning to collect and purchase phone location for voter persuasion.”

New York Times: Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy

New York Times: Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy. “Each piece of information in this file represents the precise location of a single smartphone over a period of several months in 2016 and 2017. The data was provided to Times Opinion by sources who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to share it and could face severe penalties for doing so. The sources of the information said they had grown alarmed about how it might be abused and urgently wanted to inform the public and lawmakers.”

Newswise: Mapping disease outbreaks in urban settings using mobile phone data

Newswise: Mapping disease outbreaks in urban settings using mobile phone data. “Researchers from EPFL and MIT have shown that human mobility is a major factor in the spread of vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue even over short intra-city distances. In a paper published in Scientific Reports, the team compares different mobility models and concludes that having access to mobile phone location data can prove crucial in understanding disease transmission dynamics – and, ultimately, in stopping an outbreak from evolving into an epidemic.”

Sydney Morning Herald: Consumer watchdog takes legal action against Google for ‘misleading’ conduct

Sydney Morning Herald: Consumer watchdog takes legal action against Google for ‘misleading’ conduct. “Announcing the legal action on Tuesday, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said Google had misled Android mobile phone and tablet users about the location data the company was collecting and using.”

CNET: Loan apps exposed real-time location data on millions in China

CNET: Loan apps exposed real-time location data on millions in China. “Millions of people in China who use loan apps to borrow money have ended up paying with their privacy. A security researcher discovered a public database left exposed online containing sensitive data on more than 4.6 million devices, including location history, debt logs, financial information and contacts.”