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So, I had to take a course from John Hopkin's University on Covid-19 at work. Aspects of my job include working with HR in contacting potential Covid cases and dealing with employees who have been exposed. Course is 6 hours long and about 50% of it is about the virus, how it is spread, rates of infection, etc. The other half is about how to do contact tracing and privacy concerns. Much language about how sure, people have rights, but because it's for the greater good of society, they can be ignored.

Then the section started about how some countries and have detailed GPS tracking information on their citizens through their smart phones and how great that is for containing the virus. They said our own government doesn't have such a system in place (oh, I bet they most certainly do...) but then go on to say that they will discuss how these systems work since we will likely have such a system in the near future.

Here is the transcript of parts of the lecture...

1984.1.PNG

So, while the US doesn't currently have such a wonderful way of keeping track of it's citizens, they are currently working on it...


1984.2.PNG
 
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Generally, if you keep "location" turned off on your phone, then GPS is off, but a lot of people leave it on (I turn it off because 99% of the time I am home now, I don't need it most of the time I am away from home because I know exactly where I am going, how to get there and usually how long it will take).

However, the nav system in my daily driver has GPS and it is turned on all the time.

Also, the cell phone system has to know roughly where you are to be able to function - otherwise your phone would not work when you move from one cell tower to another. The resolution is 100-200 yards most of the time, but if desired, the phone system can triangulate on your signal and get it down to much less than that - just not as exact as GPS.

Then the gov (specifically the NSA) intercepts all electronic traffic that it can; all phone traffic, all internet, almost everything except some private networks - but essentially everything electronic that is data. They broke SSL (when you are on a website that starts with HTTPS) a long time ago, so they can see that data unencrypted in real time if they wish.

Beyond that, with that and other data they collect, they have software that determines your "social" network - using who you call, talk with on electronic devices, where you go, where you work, who you exchange $ with (when it isn't cash - which is why they push cashless transactions), and other interfacing with people - they know your social network; friends, coworkers, people you interface with on the internet and so on. They then connect that out to at least 7 nodes - somebody you know who knows somebody else, out at least 7 steps.

In general, they just collect and store this info. If you become a person of interest (can happen automatically, but usually it is triggered manually - i.e., if you do something they don't like - like threaten the POTUS), then they compile the info and it is used as necessary.
 
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Does shutting the phone OFF suffice for not telling them where you are, or does one need to remove the battery or leave it home?

If you are doing something you really do not want the gov to know about, leave the phone at home (turned on so the system thinks you are there) - but if you have a car with a nav system, too bad, so sad. If you travel where there are traffic cams, or you pass by a police car that has an automatic license plate recognition system, too bad, so sad - you have been tracked - at least at that point.

Most of the time, people use the same routes, go to the same places (work, friends), stop at the same place to get gas/groceries/etc., buy the same things - so if you want to escape pursuit, take different routes.
 
My phone's location services are ALWAYS turned off, no matter where I am. I don't have nor use any form of a GPS. I am still an old "map and compass" guy, dating way back to my time in the mountains before hand-held GPS units were all the rage. I know exactly where I'm going, how I'm going to get there, and how long it will take. And if I don't, I have maps and a compass, I know how to read them and use it, and I keep a planisphere for celestial navigation if need be.

I do not use Farcebook, Twatter, IG, Snapchat, YouTube, tik tok, reddit, tumblr, nor any other "social media" platform. NWFA is the only site upon which I post or peruse. I use a VPN. I pay for most things with cash, except for online purchases, obviously. Most of my online purchases revolve around the 2A or preps.

I run with only the rear tags on my vehicles, since most traffic cams are set up to observe approaching vehicles, not departing ones. I've never been given any grief for the lack of a front plate by LEOs that have pulled me over, once they learn that I volunteer as a first responder (Mountain Rescue). I don't use any transponders for tolls, but will drop into the cash-only lane, which is generally empty on the one bridge (Tacoma Narrows) that I must use when I visit my kids on the peninsula. I no longer go downtown to the ferry docks on my way to see my kids, for obvious reasons, so the cameras at the docks don't log my passage now either...

All that being said, I am probably already on a gub'mint watch list as a result of my activity on NWFA and my online purchases.
So, if I end up dead, y'all need to know that it will not have been by suicide. Just sayin'... ;)
 
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My phone's location services are ALWAYS turned off

That is a good idea - if for no other reason than to save battery life.

However, many, if not all, of the services in your phone, can be turned on remotely. Indeed, as long as the battery is in the phone, the phone itself can be turned on remotely.

I do occasionally turn on location services as I find Google Maps to be better than the nav system in my car - a lot better, plus it is updated more frequently.
 
However, many, if not all, of the services in your phone, can be turned on remotely. Indeed, as long as the battery is in the phone, the phone itself can be turned on remotely.
I have heard about this. I routinely go through my phone's menu to make sure I haven't accidentally turned anything on or forgot to turn something off. I have yet to see any of my chosen settings altered "by others". By turning things on remotely, will the carrier/phone manufacturer leave a "trail" that they have done this? Like a setting is on when I know I just turned it off? Or is it turned on and remains on in a sort of "stealth mode", in which it appears to be off to me?
 
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The method I have read about is some entity installs malware on your phone, and then uses that to control it without your knowledge. Unless you remove the battery, your phone is not truly powered off.

In general, this is not likely unless an entity has enough interest in your behavior to go to the trouble of hacking your phone. The government is not interested enough in most of us to put the effort in to do this - at least at this point in time.

I have not looked into it, but there are reportedly phones out there that you can buy that are centered around privacy - they have a reduced set off services and hooks into those services.

I am not worried about it at this point in time since I am not an "Interesting" person - at least I don't believe I am.
 
I believe I am in the same set of persons as you.
I do not consider myself interesting enough to the gub'mint to warrant suspicion nor monitoring.
Just another reason why I stay off social media...

That being said, it might be wise for me to invest in a "burner" phone... ;)
 

made in china

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It's been mentioned about car GPS. AFAIK, onboard car GPS can not be used to track you. It is not the same as a phone, as there is no registered data going back and forth with the satellites.

My last car had a telematics module in it. It was a VW, but this system is exactly the same as GM's OnStar. A popular "mod" was to remove the telematics module because many people don't want their car to be trackable.
Speaking of which, our insurance company is offering 10% cheaper car insurance if we install their app on ALL of our phones OR if we install their OBD2 reader in ALL of our vehicles.
Heck no. Not only am I dubious about having some entity know where my vehicle is at all times, I am very guilty of driving in a manner that will red-flag me in their insurance system. Supposedly, they "only" track acceleration rates, braking rates, and speeds maintained in certain areas (they can check your speed against GPS known speed limits) but of course that system not only knows your ID, but now knows where you are. At the very least, they can sell this data, which is likely the REAL reason you get 10% off (supposedly I'd get 0% off due to my driving behavior).

Another one that has bugged me, my coworker and I will be discussing some random, off-the-cuff topic, and when I use Google search on my smartphone, if I happen to type the fist letter of the subject we were talking about, it shows up in the Google auto-complete.

In China, they openly do the same thing, I believe it is called "Dazzling Snow" where the gov't actually uses the built-in mics and cameras to see inside of people's homes, along with all of the other obvious data they collect.
 
Another one that has bugged me, my coworker and I will be discussing some random, off-the-cuff topic, and when I use Google search on my smartphone, if I happen to type the fist letter of the subject we were talking about, it shows up in the Google auto-complete.
That right there is enough to stop using Google ever again.
 
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It's been mentioned about car GPS. AFAIK, onboard car GPS can not be used to track you. It is not the same as a phone, as there is no registered data going back and forth with the satellites.

I don't know if that is true for all vehicles with nav systems.

For one thing, my car has the ability to show traffic conditions on the map. Maybe it gets all traffic data for the US via satellite (not GPS), but I kind of doubt it gets all - I believe it probably only gets the data for the local region. To do that, it probably has to inform the source of its location. Also, it has a function to make emergency calls to contact some BMW center.

But whatever - as I said, I am not "chilled" by this. I don't engage in behavior that would cause the gov to pay more than passing attention to me, and if I did, I have two 4x4 trucks that have no electronics in them that can be used to track them and plenty of acreage that nobody ever visits.
 

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I don't know if that is true for all vehicles with nav systems.

For one thing, my car has the ability to show traffic conditions on the map. Maybe it gets all traffic data for the US via satellite (not GPS), but I kind of doubt it gets all - I believe it probably only gets the data for the local region. To do that, it probably has to inform the source of its location. Also, it has a function to make emergency calls to contact some BMW center.

Traffic conditions come in on my car (2014 Infiniti) by way of SiriusXM, which is a one-way data transfer.

Cars like my previous 2016 VW GTI and MANY newer GM's (and my wife's 2020 Toyota) actually have a "telematics module" which has cellular connectivity. EVen if you are not paying the bill for enhanced features like "OnStar" the cellular connection is always live, because many of these cars can call 911 in an accident or call customer support even if you are not a subscriber. Technically, they always know where you are. Of course, like you, I am not too concerned, I doubt anyone cares what I do.
But, it could also be all practice for a larger goal in the future.
 
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