Category Archives: Smart Phones

Let’s just mandate it: “NSA Warns Cellphone Location Data Could Pose National-Security Threat”

The National Security Agency issued new guidance on Tuesday for military and intelligence-community personnel, warning about the risks of cellphone location tracking through apps, wireless networks and Bluetooth technology.

The detailed warning from one of the nation’s top intelligence agencies is an acknowledgment that Silicon Valley’s practice of collecting and selling cellphone location information for advertising and marketing purposes poses a serious national-security risk to many inside the government….

Source: NSA Warns Cellphone Location Data Could Pose National-Security Threat – WSJ

In December 2019, the FAA released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking requiring mandatory radio-based Remote Identification and tracking of all hobby radio controlled aircraft weighing more than 250 grams (about 1/2 pound). The Final Rule is expected in December of 2021. The NPRM itself eventually ends the radio control model aircraft hobby that currently exists, makes it legal to fly only certified, manufactured drones that are tracked in real time. The primary purpose is to clear the air space above your home and turn it over to AmazonGoogleUPS. The FAA asserts all rights to the airspace in your back yard, for example.

Every remote controlled aircraft would be required by Federal regulation to connect to the Internet and log its activities in an Internet cloud database, in real time. Those providing the cloud databases may offer them for free in exchange for who knows what – but the FAA itself proposed they might collect photo images and telemetry – such as WiFi and Bluetooth communications collected by the craft.

In effect, the FAA mandates a nationwide low level altitude surveillance network of potentially millions of drones collecting data in real time and logging it in data bases – that may as well be located in China.

Meanwhile, the US DoD and the US Department of the Interior banned the use of Chinese made drones over fears of their use for espionage.

While the left hand bans drones from collecting data, the right hand mandates that all drones must collect potentially invasive data on behalf of foreign organizations.

We know that U.S. firms and others are collecting massive amounts of private data through the use of apps on our smart phones. Google itself collects your location data, even when you turn location services off.

The primary business function of the Internet is surveillance to be used for many purposes.

Utah mostly abandons its contact tracing smart phone app

The GPS-based contact tracking system was hardly used; the app will continue to have a Bluetooth “close encounter” detector but unless a majority install the app, its mostly useless.

“We’ve learned over the course of the past three months that location tracking isn’t popular,” state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn said Thursday. “And as a result, it hasn’t really been helpful to our contact-tracing efforts.”

So, state leaders this week revealed they were turning off the app’s location-tracking function, eliminating one of the features that made Healthy Together a contact-tracing tool in the first place.

Source: Utah’s expensive coronavirus app won’t track people’s movements anymore, its key feature – The Salt Lake Tribune

Smart phone Covid-19 contact tracing apps accomplishing little

In May, a report said Iceland had achieved the largest penetration of any virus-tracking app, with 38% of its 364,000 inhabitants installing it. But the Iceland app, which collected people’s GPS data, “wasn’t a game changer,” according to Gestur Pálmason, the deputy chief inspector of Iceland’s Covid-19 tracing team. Oxford University researchers have said 60% of a country’s population would have to download a tracing app in order for it to be effective.

“There isn’t a single country in the world to date that would be able to point to an app and say: ‘That was a game changer,’” Stephanie Hare, an independent technology researcher, told CNBC.

Singapore, which was seen as a pioneer in the development of tracing technology, has seen about 2.1 million downloads of its app. This translates to about 37% of the country’s population — still well below the recommended 60% threshold. And although digital tracking measures seem to have helped in countries like China and South Korea, critics say that these technologies came at the expense of privacy.

Source: Why coronavirus contact-tracing apps haven’t been a ‘game changer’

Did you know that the Iceland app could only detect  about 14% of potential contacts?  That’s why phone -side app tracing doesn’t work.

Continue reading Smart phone Covid-19 contact tracing apps accomplishing little

TikTok Secretly Spying On iPhone Users?

TikTok app on iPhone has been copying the contents of the “clipboard”. Now that your clipboard is shared across devices, stuff you copied to the clipboard on a Mac can end up on an iPhone and then intercepted by TikTok. TikTok will have to change the feature, moving forward. Whether something similar is done on Android is not known.

Ever copy a password to your clipboard? Well, duh, we all have!

Source: Warning—Apple Suddenly Catches TikTok Secretly Spying On Millions Of iPhone Users

coronavirus apps do not need 60+% adoption to be effective 

A meme has been established that smart phone contact tracing apps need at least 60% adoption to provide any benefit. That is not the correct interpretation as their could be detections at lower adoption levels, and if you detect anyone, then that is defined as a “benefit”, albeit, it may be a very small benefit – such as detecting one or two potential contacts, which is probably not sufficient to make any difference in disease spread.

MIT Technology Review cites Iceland as an example of 40% adoption rate and suggests this is a “significant level of adoption”.

Uhhh, no, and the source they cited to make this claim actually says the app “hasn’t helped much”.

Continue reading coronavirus apps do not need 60+% adoption to be effective 

UK’s NHS tried to stop development of third-party contact tracing smartphone apps

The UK has since abandoned its NHSX developed app and is now moving on to a new app based on Google/Apple tech, but is not expected to release the new app until … end of 2020:

Developers of several apps were urged to stop work by either NHSX or the Ministry of Defence, who told them their apps might distract attention from NHSX’s app when it was launched. Last week the app was abandoned after three months, with work beginning on an alternative design without any deadline.

Prof Tim Spector, of King’s College London, said that NHSX had treated his Covid symptom tracker research team as “the enemy”. “We were hampered from the beginning, in March when we first contacted NHSX,” he told the Observer. “They were very worried about our app taking attention away from theirs and confusing the public.

Source: NHS Covid app developers ‘tried to block rival symptom trackers’ | Technology | The Guardian