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Tag Archives for " location data "

Military Intelligence Agency Says It Monitored U.S. Cellphone Movements Without Warrant

In a new document made public Friday, the Defense Intelligence Agency acknowledged monitoring the location of U.S.-based mobile devices without a warrant through location data drawn from ordinary smartphone apps.

The Defense Intelligence Agency told congressional investigators that the agency has access to “commercially available geolocation metadata aggregated from smartphones” from both the U.S. and abroad. It said it had queried its database to look at the location information of U.S.-based smartphones five times in the last 2½ years as part of authorized investigations.

Such data is typically drawn from smartphone apps such as weather, games and other apps that get user permission to access a phone’s GPS location.

Source: Military Intelligence Agency Says It Monitored U.S. Cellphone Movements Without Warrant – WSJ

Amazon’s Ring Neighbors app exposed users’ precise locations and home addresses

Ring, the video doorbell and home security startup acquired by Amazon for $1 billion, launched Neighbors in 2018 as a breakaway feature in its own standalone app. Neighbors is one of several neighborhood watch apps, like Nextdoor and Citizen, that lets users anonymously alert nearby residents to crime and public-safety issues.

While users’ posts are public, the app doesn’t display names or precise locations — though most include video taken by Ring doorbells and security cameras. The bug made it possible to retrieve the location data on users who posted to the app, including those who are reporting crimes.

Source: Amazon’s Ring Neighbors app exposed users’ precise locations and home addresses | TechCrunch

Sensitive Data Leak From Baidu Apps Allows Lifetime User Tracking According To Researchers

Researchers from Palo Alto Networks discovered data leak from Baidu and other apps that could allow user tracking across devices for a lifetime.

Unit 42 researchers found that Baidu Search Box and Baidu Maps leaked sensitive data that could be used for cross-device lifetime user tracking. Google removed the risky apps from the Play Store on October 28 after receiving the report.

About 1.4 billion people worldwide were affected by the data leak, according to a Unit 42’s estimate.

Source: Sensitive Data Leak From Baidu Apps Allows Lifetime User Tracking According To Researchers – CPO Magazine

Google and Apple are banning technology for sharing users’ location data

Google and Apple are trying to put a stop to X-Mode Social’s code that may be in some of the apps on your phone, tracking and selling your location data.

X-Mode works by giving developers code to put into their apps, known as an SDK, which tracks users’ location and then sends that data to X-Mode, which sells it. In return, X-Mode pays the developer a certain amount based on how many users the app has.

Now, Google and Apple have told developers to remove X-Mode’s code from their apps, or risk getting them pulled from their respective app stores.

Source: Google and Apple are banning technology for sharing users’ location data – The Verge

Law enforcement is using location tracking on mobile devices to identify suspects, but is it unconstitutional?

As the use of geofence warrants has grown, so have controversies surrounding them. Defense attorneys argue they’re unconstitutional, and prosecutors say their use is a valid and valuable crime-solving technique. Litigation questioning the constitutionality of geofence warrants is now surfacing.

Privacy and civil rights advocates also say the geographic scope of these warrants gives police information about people in private locales, such as their homes or doctors’ offices. But prosecutors say these warrants help authorities catch criminals.

Full article: Law enforcement is using location tracking on mobile devices to identify suspects, but is it unconstitutional?

Homeland Security Watchdog to Probe Department’s Use of Phone Location Data

The Department of Homeland Security’s internal watchdog said it would open an investigation into the use of mobile-phone surveillance technologies to track Americans without a warrant.

The department’s inspector general told five Democratic senators that his office would initiate an audit “to determine if the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its components have developed, updated, and adhered to policies related to cell-phone surveillance devices,” according to a letter sent last week to Capitol Hill and shared with The Wall Street Journal.

Source: Homeland Security Watchdog to Probe Department’s Use of Phone Location Data – WSJ

IRS Could Search Warrantless Location Database Over 10,000 Times

The IRS was able to query a database of location data quietly harvested from ordinary smartphone apps over 10,000 times, according to a copy of the contract between IRS and the data provider obtained by Motherboard.

The document provides more insight into what exactly the IRS wanted to do with a tool purchased from Venntel, a government contractor that sells clients access to a database of smartphone movements. The Inspector General is currently investigating the IRS for using the data without a warrant to try to track the location of Americans.

Source: IRS Could Search Warrantless Location Database Over 10,000 Times

DHS Authorities Are Buying Moment-By-Moment Geolocation Cellphone Data To Track People

The Department of Homeland Security is purchasing consumer cellphone data that allows authorities to track immigrants trying to cross the southern border, which privacy advocates say could lead to a vast “surveillance partnership” between the government and private corporations.

In an internal memo obtained by BuzzFeed News, the DHS’s top attorney, Chad Mizelle, outlined how ICE officials can look up locations and track cellphone data activity to make decisions on enforcement.

Mizelle also believes the agency can use the data without obtaining a warrant or violating the Fourth Amendment, which protects the public against unreasonable searches and seizures. That logic could lay the groundwork for the government to use the same data to track everyday Americans, raising red flags among privacy advocates.

Source: DHS Authorities Are Buying Moment-By-Moment Geolocation Cellphone Data To Track People

Wyden and Warren Demand Investigation into IRS Warrantless Location Tracking

A unit of the IRS previously bought access to location data harvested from ordinary apps installed on peoples’ phones to try and identify individuals.

The news highlights the continued tread of law enforcement agencies obtaining location data that would ordinarily require a warrant to do, by simply purchasing the data from commercial providers instead. Ron Wyden and Elizabeth Warren want a formal investigation into the IRS’ use of smartphone location data to track Americans without a warrant.

Source: Wyden and Warren Demand Investigation into IRS Warrantless Location Tracking

Secret Service Bought Phone Location Data from Apps, Contract Confirms

An internal Secret Service document describes the purchase of Locate X, a product that uses location data harvested from ordinary apps.

The sale highlights the issue of law enforcement agencies buying information, and in particular location data, that they would ordinarily need a warrant or court order to obtain. This contract relates to the sale of Locate X, a product from a company called Babel Street.

Source: Secret Service Bought Phone Location Data from Apps, Contract Confirms

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