At least one company, Microbilt, “is selling phone geolocation services with little oversight to a spread of different private industries, ranging from car salesmen and property managers to bail bondsmen and bounty hunters, according to sources familiar with the company’s products and company documents obtained by Motherboard.”
AT&TT-MOBILESPRINT selling customer real-time location
Do you think that nobody knows where you are? Think again.
Mobile phone companies are selling your phone’s real-time location to a slew of unauthorized players.
I’m not doing anything wrong. I’ve nothing to worry about
You don’t have to be doing anything wrong for your mobile service provider to be revealing your precise location.
If anyone wants to find you, they can. They don’t need a warrant. They don’t need a subpoena.
Motherboard has the article that details how AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and probably Verizon are making a fortune off of the phone service that you’re paying for.
Quick Tip: Your mobile service provider knows where your phone is at all times, even when it’s turned off.
A VPN won’t protect you from the abuses uncovered by Motherboard.
Cell phone networks can tell where you are by the towers to which your phone connects. This means that disabling location services won’t protect you from the abuse discussed by Motherboard.
You have a limited number of options to protect your location data:
- Always leave your phone at home.
- If you need to have your phone with you, place it in a paint can or similar enclosure that blocks all radio signals until you need to use it. Minimize your exposure by returning your phone to such a protective container when you’re done.
- Remove the battery from your phone. Non-iPhone users should remove the battery from their phone when it’s not in use.