Your Phone is a Surveillance Unit
Yesterday we noted how governments are tracking everyday people via mobile devices. In the United States, this includes “1.3 million government requests for customer data—ranging from subscriber identifying information to call detail records (who is calling whom), geolocation tracking, text messages, and full-blown wiretaps.”
This isn’t specific to the US, of course. In 2010, German politician Malte Spitz went to court in order to obtain all information that Deutsche Telekom had about his activity. The results astonished him. Over the course of five months, they had tracked his geographical location and what he was doing with his phone 35,000 times.
Working with the German newspaper Die Zeit, an infographic was created that shows Spitz’s activity across an interactive timeline.
In this TED Talk, Spitz discusses the threats and repercussions such tracking has on politics and society, and in particular the authoritarian manifestations that can ensue.
As Spitz notes, with current data retention policies, authorities know who we call, how we communicate with each other, when we go to sleep, what our social networks look like and who the leaders within a group are.
“If you have access to this information you can see what your society is doing,” says Spitz. “If you have access to this information, you can control your society. This is a blueprint for countries like China and Iran. This a blueprint for how to surveil your society.”
Most important, Spitz calls for self determination in the digital age by calling for stronger privacy regulations and getting rid of data retention laws that governments are demanding of Internet and mobile providers around the world.
Run Time: ~9:00.
If you’d like to see a shorter visualization of the actual tracking, I created a brief screencast of it last year. — Michael
If you have phone. They know almost everything about you.