It takes only four calls to make your online anonymity vanish

26 March 2013

The internet having a sit down

Researchers have some alarming news. After looking at data from mobile phone networks, using just the location of radio masts, they've found that they can identify the vast majority of people from just four pieces of information.

Or one, if the imbecile is using FourSquare.

"If individual's patterns are unique enough, outside information can be used to link the data back to an individual," said the researchers who studied data collected over 15 months from 1.5million people, finding that "human mobility traces are highly unique".

"A list of potentially sensitive professional and personal information that could be inferred about an individual knowing only his mobility trace was published recently by the Electronic Frontier Foundation," the authors said. "These include the movements of a competitor sales force, attendance of a particular church or an individual's presence in a motel or at an abortion clinic."

Whether you try and make yourself anonymous online or not, you can be traced. The big tech companies know this too. For example, Apple "recently updated its privacy policy to allow sharing the spatio-temporal location of their users with ‘partners and licensees’," according to the research.

With a third of the 25billion apps available in Apple's App Store tracking your geographic location, there's reason for concern.

"All together," the paper continues, "the ubiquity of mobility datasets, the uniqueness of human traces, and the information that can be inferred from them highlight the importance of understanding the privacy bounds of human mobility."

"Modern information technologies such as the internet and mobile phones, however, magnify the uniqueness of individuals, further enhancing the traditional challenges to privacy. Mobility data is among the most sensitive data currently being collected," they said.

Is this the start of a big personal privacy scandal?

TOPICS:   Technology   Privacy   Mobile


  • Marly M.
    "Researchers have some alarming news. After looking at data from Bitterwallet readers using just the location of divining rods, they’ve found that they can identify the vast majority of crap, unoriginal articles by seeing if they were written by Mof." Or that's how I read it.
  • Lard A.
    Well. Fucktards... more reasons to leave the fucking iphone at home and fuck off into the wilderness... learn some real shit instead of dribbling over angry birds all fucking night long, or wanking over posters of the new "genius" at the local church...sorry...iphone shop
  • toby r.
    even better , researchers found the fuck witts over at hukd , have in the past had various security breaches, shady goings on with moderators using secondary usernames to promote deals,and a total disregard to most of their members, due to the fact most of them if not all of them have not enough brain cells between them to run a site in an orderly fashion, well I wonder what the next installment of faulty Hot UK towers will be

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