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United Kingdom Privacy

UK's 4G Network Selling Subscriber Tracking Data To Police, Private Parties 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-have-you-been-up-to? dept.
Sockatume writes "The Sunday Times has revealed that analytics firm Ipsos MORI and 4G network EE attempted to sell detailed information on 27m subscribers' activities to various parties including the UK's police forces. The data encompasses the gender, postcode and age of subscribers, the sites they visit and times they are visited, and the places and times of calls and text messages. Ipsos MORI were reportedly 'bragging that the data can be used to track people and their location in real time to within 100 meters' in negotiations. Ipsos MORI has rushed to contradict this in an effort to save face, stating that the users are anonymized and data is aggregated into groups of 50 or more, while location is only precise to 700m. Despite their prior enthusiasm, the police have indicated that they will no longer go ahead with the deal. It is not clear whether the other sales will go ahead."
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UK's 4G Network Selling Subscriber Tracking Data To Police, Private Parties

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  • Party! (Score:5, Funny)

    by MightyYar (622222) on Monday May 13, 2013 @08:42AM (#43708829)

    Oh man, private parties! I'm never invited to those!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why not put everybody in jail as precaution and allowed only for school, work and couple hours of social activities.
    That way, it will be easier to know about everybody's where-about.

    POLICE and politicians!
    Think about it!

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      I'm more worried that they're *paying* for it. With taxpayer money.

      Who worked out that little deal?

      • Re:Why not? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by gl4ss (559668) on Monday May 13, 2013 @09:09AM (#43708995) Homepage Journal

        I'm more worried that they're *paying* for it. With taxpayer money.

        Who worked out that little deal?

        yeah.. if they had a legal use case, they could just ask for the data.

        • by Xest (935314)

          That and I'm not overly convinced it's legal in itself to do it this way.

          If they're genuinely conveying things like gender, postcode and age then that unambiguously falls under what is deemed personal data. To pass such personal data on is a very clear breach of the data protection act and even the police don't have immunity from the data protection act, only exemptions.

          This implies that Ipsos Mori, EE, and the Police were conspiring to break the law in carrying out an illegal transfer of personal data.

          The

        • Which means that if you had any doubt that all you do with your smartphone is data for sale-- it is! And it's being sold to whomever, without anonymizing, I'll bet. Good to 700m. Yeah... right. Good to about 3m if you had your GPS on. Your applications are ratting you out, and the browser data is an open book on your life, and everything you've done with the phone.

          • by Gr8Apes (679165)

            which is why all my apps are blocked from location services, with 2 exceptions. Obviously, this has little impact on the phone service provider, since the very act of being connected will allow them to track you explicitly.

            As for browser data, I don't do much browsing on my phone, the screen's too small for general browsing in comfort and it's missing a few features I use on my computers. If you were really paranoid, you could VPN all your connection info to your home system, unless, of course, you've bun

            • No. That's only a partial cure. Your services are known, your location is known (GPS enhanced). Who you called, when, etc etc. is still available.

              • by Gr8Apes (679165)
                Your services are known only by what you use - VPN and tower connectivity. If you've jail-broken your phone, all your calls can be done via the VPN as well, although call quality will probably be unusable with today's networks. You don't have to transmit any GPS data, but your device's location can still be known, as long as you're connected to the network.
        • by Sir Holo (531007)
          Yep. Pretty much the same deal there here in the US (aside from our lack of privacy laws).

          We are all now essentially now just GPS-collared "output generators," or whatever the current marketing-speak term is.

          Yes, it is scary, but the majority of citizens will not realize it until we have another you-know-who that rises to power somewhere. Or, hey, maybe their insurance rates go up because they have some sort of profile that makes them "high-risk." Oh, wait, that last thing is already happening.

          Oh,
        • yeah.. if they had a legal use case, they could just ask for the data.

          Sounds like it's common corruption then: government paying friends in the industry for what it should be getting for free.

          People seem to care more about corruption than their rights being taken away, so maybe go after it from that angle?

      • by Luckyo (1726890)

        I'm far more worried that ability to sell these is given to private parties in the first place and is not under heavy legal lock-down.

        Government here in Western countries more often then not both has good reasons to want data, such as to combat crime. If there were tight rules and regulation on who and how can purchase such data for all parties including law enforcement, such as one in Nordics where you typically cannot resell such private data without significant legal hurdles such as search warrant that r

        • Actually, given that you could extrapolate most people's identities from the data mentioned (postcode, gender and age), this sale would be illegal under EU data protection laws.

    • Margaret Atwood's "Positron" series of E-books explores the idea of a community that is set up where people volunteer to be locked up half the time so that everyone can have jobs. It's not a very practical idea (the ultimate version of the Broken Window fallacy) but it's an interesting thought experiment... a self-supporting community that is held together because at any one time the other half of the population is in jail and needs to be supported.

  • To turn around and be sold as an asset. Man, and Facebook is only taking on end of that deal!
  • Who's to say AT&T isn't doing this already in USA?

    Verizon is already doing this, and has been for a while, according to
    PC World's article about this [pcworld.com]


    Verizon to Share User Location Data, Browsing History With Marketers

    Verizon has posted changes to its privacy policy stating that it will now share user location data, Web browsing history and demographic information with marketers.

    While Verizon insists that it will not provide third parties with any information identifying users on a personal basis, it will give them a wide array of its users' information, including websites they frequent on their Verizon devices, places where their devices have been, and demographic categories such as gender and age range. Verizon will also share user interests with marketers, such as whether they're a sports fan, own a pet or what sort of restaurants they frequent.

    The Department of Justice in the USA already wants carriers to keep user location data [directionsmag.com] for further review by DOJ as needed, warranted or not.

    Apple already got slogged for tracking user location data in articles [seattletimes.com] and on South Park's "Human Centipad" episode [southparkstudios.com], if you remember that. And that was followed by Android having to deal with user location tracking issues [inc.com] in May of 2011.

    All of this just by searching for [ +"user location data" ] on your favorite search engine! So why aren't people up in arms about this?? Oh yeah, because not only do they accept this voluntarily, they pay the damn phone companies a monthly allotment to take their personal data and sell it! Damn sheep!

  • George Orwell was British, right?

  • At the risk of of some kind of CONSPIRACY THEORIST - pah! (aka fucking lunatic) - I say this with every fibre of my being - FUCK THE FUCKING SYSTEM! - we are all thinking it but no-one will say it.. so I will FUCK IT, FUCK EVERYONE WHO IS ON BOARD, FUCK YOU, AND FUCK YOUR FUCKING COWARD FACE! FUCK EVERYONE WHO IS A BAD PERSON, FUCK THE CONSERVATIVES, FUCK THE MEDIA, FUCK THE MURDERING BASTARD CORPORATIONS, FUCK THE CORPORATIONS WHO SELL YOUR SOUL FOR A BUCK, FUCK IGNORANT ASSHOLE PEOPLE, FUCK RACISTS, FUCK

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long

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