Ever wonder how cellphones went from being a point of wealth to household commodity? Well, there’s reason to believe that the accessibility of cellphones isn’t purely coincidental. The thought originated with metadata and the possibilities made possible through the documentation of information that cellphones provide, through both backdoor access and the location data each phone provides.
FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, is an incredibly secret court that answers to no one and, has autonomy in not only their proceeding and rulings, but, is also highly-classified. Through this system, President’s George Bush and Barrack Obama have enabled their own domestic surveillance practices. Although, The NSA is heavily involved as well.
In doing so, the government has created programs and jobs that are specific to collecting and translating meta-data. The government would have you believe that meta-data is not as invasive as specific data, but, let’s consider it this way. Imagine your coordinates being reported by the second, from the time you wake in the morning, during your commute to work, and whichever plans you have afterwards. This data system gives insight into each particular location, phone call, and the duration of said phone calls to these data collectors.
Imagine being able to see each and every step your better half or child has throughout the day, and you notice they stops at location that seem unusual or speak/communicate with numbers/people unfamiliar to you while having access to the duration of those calls. Although, this leaves an opportunity for misconception, but, it also brings us to an objective truth, how revealing metadata can be.
Edward Snowden, a former NSA employer who specialized in technology in the cyber division, released classified documents involving both government programs that enacted policies, and, FISA court rulings on said programs. These revelations brought his need to flee for asylum in China, and then and currently, Russia. Snowden’s attempt of transparency let Americans learn just how much census data has changed and the contracts deployed between the government and the major communications companies, such as AT&T. These companies have made millions by granting backdoor access and data to the government.
Yet, this isn’t all bad. Local officials have occasionally solicited access, through communication companies, to find criminals and perpetrators of crime. For example, in 2013 California officials used the data and cellphone accessibility to find the murderer that slaughtered a man, his wife, and their two children. Until the solicitation, the local officials weren’t close to right suspect. After collaboration, the local officials were able to find, through metadata collection, analysis, and cellphone GPS, the exact location of the murderer.
So, you tell me, do you think your phone is as private as you think?
Written by Anthony A Fabrikant.