Thinking of going to a protest anytime soon? Might wanna consider exactly how much information you’re volunteering on yourself via your phones and social media data.
In a random act of journalism by the NY Times, they studied the data obtained not by a government agency, but private companies tracking the activities of people via the geolocation data on their phones. From data gathered at the 2016 election, attendees in Washington DC were tracked just the same as the eventual protestors, citing:
Protesters were tracked just as rigorously. After the pings of Trump supporters, basking in victory, vanished from the National Mall on Friday evening, they were replaced hours later by those of participants in the Women’s March, as a crowd of nearly half a million descended on the capital. Examining just a photo from the event, you might be hard-pressed to tie a face to a name. But in our data, pings at the protest connected to clear trails through the data, documenting the lives of protesters in the months before and after the protest, including where they lived and worked.
Pretty interesting. Considering this data is gathered based on embedded geolocation data in several common apps people use, including various social media messengers, you’re volunteering this information willingly. Thus there’s no expectation of privacy.
In Afghanistan one of the ways we targeted High Value Targets was through the use of cellphone location data. That was nearly a decade ago, and the technology that went over my knuckle-dragger head at the time is now available open-source and easy to use. It should be both impressive and terrifying what is capable today with those same tools.
So while the same tinfoil outlets continue to pedal nonsense like “the Governor of Virginia is threatening to shut off cell service!!”, I ask you calmly, why would they shut off their greatest goldmine of data? You’ll tell them everything they want to know. Along with giving up all of your contacts and likely members of your individual groups.
Want to learn how to not do that while giving yourself a fighting chance? We have a Privacy, Security and Anonymity class for that coming up in March, taught by a guy who did this stuff in places where it mattered. If you’re considering getting active in the coming fight for liberty, you might want it.