The Problem with Mobile Phones [source: ssd.eff]
Mobile phones have become ubiquitous and basic communications tools—now used not only for phone calls, but also for accessing the Internet, sending text messages, and documenting the world.
Unfortunately, mobile phones were not designed for privacy and security. Not only do they do a poor job of protecting your communications, they also expose you to new kinds of surveillance risks—especially location tracking. Most mobile phones give the user much less control than a personal desktop or laptop computer would; it’s harder to replace the operating system, harder to investigate malware attacks, harder to remove or replace undesirable bundled software, and harder to prevent parties like the mobile operator from monitoring how you use the device. What’s more, the device maker may declare your device obsolete and stop providing you with software updates, including security fixes; if this happens, you may not have anywhere else to turn for these fixes.
Some of these problems can be addressed by using third-party privacy software—but some of them can’t. Here, we’ll describe some of the ways that phones can aid surveillance and undermine their users’ privacy.
The deepest privacy threat from mobile phones—yet one that is often completely invisible—is the way that they announce your whereabouts all day (and all night) long through the signals they broadcast. There are at least four ways that an individual phone’s location can be tracked by others.
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