Tuesday, March 5, 2013
What Your Smart Phone Says About You
Today's is a guest blog by an anonymous friend:
Smart phones are now pretty much electronic oxygen; everybody needs one every day. For more and more people, their whole lives are wrapped up in their Smart Phone – contacts, calendar, messages, web surfing. It’s a device that also goes with you everywhere.
Did you ever wonder what, exactly, your phone can tell about you? Most people don’t pay any attention to the little snitch that runs around in your pocket. Perhaps it’s time you do. A recent document release discloses exactly how much information your friendly phone accumulates.
Some background is needed to put things in context. If you are stopped by the police, there is a chance that you and the contents of your pockets will be examined. If you are actually arrested, you will be exposed to a “search incident to arrest” and you and the contents of your pockets are fair game. That includes your Smart phone. Under current case law, your phone can be searched for evidence of whatever crime you committed, especially if the police obtain a warrant. Your phone will squeal if a warrant is obtained.
So what do the police find on your phone? A recently unsealed search warrant from Michigan reveals all:
· Everything you could possibly want to know about the technical features of the phone, software and apps that the phone runs.
· The carrier, account information and account names connected to the phone.
· Your complete call log – incoming, outgoing and missed.
· Your complete text message history.
· Your complete chat history.
· Your contacts lists.
· All data stored on your phone – documents, photos, etc.
· Your browser history.
· Your browser bookmarks.
Alarmed? It gets better. Your little snitch also discloses the cell towers and Wi-Fi networks it has been using to keep in touch with the larger world, neatly arranged by time and date. In the seized phone, there were 659 such contacts, including 227 cell towers, 28 Wi-Fi hotspots connected to and 403 Wi-Fi hotspots contacted. In addition, there was a “media site” which was identified, probably Netflix or something similar.
So what does all that mean? It means with a little time and effort, by extrapolating cell tower locations and Wi-Fi locations and placing those locations on a map, your movements can be tracked without any outside assistance. Now granted, cell towers and Wi-Fi networks broadcast over a grid the size of a few city blocks, but still, your phone knows you were in the area.
So maybe, if you really want to be sneaky, you should leave the little snitch at home.