Some recently uncovered news provides us even more proof that George Orwell was a prognosticator far beyond the level of Nostradamus or the Greek Oracles. It involves one element of typical modern innovation that affects almost everybody today. As you most likely currently understand, unless you take remarkable measures by means of your personal privacy settings, your cell phone always knows where you are. It records your movements and through some services such as Google Maps, it can even print out a map of all over you have actually gone.
But do you understand who else most likely had access to that map? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to a new report, the CDC paid nearly half a million dollars to a data brokerage company for the place data from countless cellphones in the United States. Why would they do something like that? Since the country remained in a compulsory lockdown at the time and Huge Sibling would like to know the number of people were overlooking their mandates and appearing at locations like churches and schools. If you’re getting a creepy sensation upon reading this news, you’re not alone. (Daily Mail)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention paid for location data harvested from millions of cell phones to track compliance with COVID-19 lockdown measures, according to a new report.
The CDC paid $420,000 for a year of access to the cell phone location data from the data brokerage SafeGraph, according to documents reported by Vice News on Tuesday.
The data was aggregated, meaning that it was intended to show general trends rather than the movements of specific phones, however the move still set off alarm bells with some privacy advocates.
The CDC claims that they weren’t tracking specific people, but rather “trends.” The descriptions in the documents do not do much to inspire self-confidence in that claim, however. They talk about the need to keep an eye on “compliance with curfews,” curiously making specific reference to the Navajo Country. They likewise mention “per hour tracking of activity in curfew zones” along with the ability to track visits to pharmacies to better check on vaccination compliance.
If all of that isn’t providing you enough of a fuzzy, warm feeling, there’s another truth to think about. The firm supplying the CDC with all of this data, SafeGraph, is funded by Faisal Al Saud, the previous head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence company. What could perhaps go wrong?
It’s challenging to see how the CDC can declare that there was no tracking of specific people going on. Practically every cellular phone in the country is connected to the account of the private owner. The company can’t just state that “a phone” went from location A to location B without knowing whose phone it was. Among the other data points, the CDC was looking at was the frequency of “neighbor to neighbor” visits during the lockdown. You can’t know if the person doing the checking out is a next-door neighbor unless you know who they are and where they live, best?
SafeGraph was intrusive enough that Google finally prohibited it from the app shop and all other apps utilizing it to collect data needed to get rid of SafeGraph or be likewise prohibited from the store. If your product is too invasive for Google, you have actually got to be quite bad. Or maybe Google was just envious that they weren’t able to track you that well.
This entire story simply sounds so dystopian in nature that it’s hard to picture it taking place in the United States. And yet here we are. Would our own federal government really begin recording the hour-to-hour movements of citizens who have not been implicated in any criminal offense? What’s the next step after that? Just imagine some sort of “men in black” situation where agents knock on your door to ask why you were over at your friend’s house for an hour the other afternoon. One would quite like to see congressional hearings on this report in the future. Someone needs to put Rochelle Walensky under oath and start demanding some answers.