Ars Technica: One company wants to sell the feds location data from every car on Earth

Ars Technica: One company wants to sell the feds location data from every car on Earth. “There is a strange sort of symmetry in the world of personal data this week: one new report has identified a company that wants to sell the US government granular car location data from basically every vehicle in the world, while a group of privacy advocates is suing another company for providing customer data to the feds.”

Motherboard: Military Unit that Conducts Drone Strikes Bought Location Data from Ordinary Apps

Motherboard: Military Unit that Conducts Drone Strikes Bought Location Data from Ordinary Apps. “A division of the Iowa Air National Guard that carries out overseas intelligence missions, performs reconnaissance, and conducts strikes with Reaper drones recently bought access to location data harvested from ordinary apps installed on peoples’ smartphones, Motherboard has found. The tool, called Locate X, lets users search by a specific area and see which devices were present in that location at a particular point in time.”

EurekAlert: Location tracking apps and privacy implications

EurekAlert: Location tracking apps and privacy implications. “How much personal information can our phone apps gather through location tracking? To answer this question, two researchers – Mirco Musolesi (University of Bologna, Italy) and Benjamin Baron (University College London, UK) – carried out a field study using an app specifically developed for this research. Through the app employed in the study – published in Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies – researchers were able to identify which kind of personal information the app extracted and its privacy sensitivity according to users.”

New York Times: Intelligence Analysts Use U.S. Smartphone Location Data Without Warrants, Memo Says

New York Times: Intelligence Analysts Use U.S. Smartphone Location Data Without Warrants, Memo Says. “The disclosure sheds light on an emerging loophole in privacy law during the digital age: In a landmark 2018 ruling known as the Carpenter decision, the Supreme Court held that the Constitution requires the government to obtain a warrant to compel phone companies to turn over location data about their customers. But the government can instead buy similar data from a broker — and does not believe it needs a warrant to do so.”

TechCrunch: Fearing coronavirus, a Michigan college tracks its students with a flawed app

TechCrunch: Fearing coronavirus, a Michigan college tracks its students with a flawed app. “Albion College, a small liberal arts school in Michigan, said in June it would allow its nearly 1,500 students to return to campus for the new academic year starting in August. Lectures would be limited in size and the semester would finish by Thanksgiving rather than December. The school said it would test both staff and students upon their arrival to campus and throughout the academic year. But less than two weeks before students began arriving on campus, the school announced it would require them to download and install a contact-tracing app called Aura, which it says will help it tackle any coronavirus outbreak on campus. There’s a catch. The app is designed to track students’ real-time locations around the clock, and there is no way to opt out.”

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Government Contractor Embedded Software in Apps to Track Phones

Wall Street Journal: U.S. Government Contractor Embedded Software in Apps to Track Phones. “A small U.S. company with ties to the U.S. defense and intelligence communities has embedded its software in numerous mobile apps, allowing it to track the movements of hundreds of millions of mobile phones world-wide, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Anomaly Six LLC a Virginia-based company founded by two U.S. military veterans with a background in intelligence, said in marketing material it is able to draw location data from more than 500 mobile applications, in part through its own software development kit, or SDK, that is embedded directly in some of the apps.”

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.”