Study secretly tracks cellular users outside US

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News Posted: Wed, Jun 4 2008 9:25 PM

A study detailed in Nature
exposes the local nature of humans: we like to hang around our homes.
But that's not what caught our interest. It's the way the study was conducted.

Researchers used cell phone towers to track individuals' locations whenever they made or received phone calls and text messages over six months. In a second set of records, researchers took another 206 cell phones that had tracking devices in them and got records for their locations every two hours over a week's time period.

The study was based on cell phone records from a private company, whose name also was not disclosed.

Study co-author Cesar Hidalgo, a physics researcher at Northeastern, said he and his colleagues didn't know the individual phone numbers because they were disguised into "ugly" 26-digit-and-letter codes.

That type of nonconsensual tracking would be illegal in the United States, according to Rob Kenny, a spokesman for the Federal Communications Commission. Consensual tracking, however, is legal and even marketed as a special feature by some U.S. cell phone providers.

The study showed that 75% of people stay within a 20 mile circle around their home during the six months.  But data withstanding: readers, despite the fact that researchers say they went to extremes to ensure privacy, how would you like to be one of the "participants" in the study?

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I wouldn't mind. If anyone wanted to track me down there's far easier ways than tracking my cell phone usage. You'd just walk into my room, heh. But I guess paranoid, 1984-fearing people might be fearful.


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Were are being watched!!!! Bot their wasting their time watching me matter of fact they would probably get bored doing it real quick and give up!LOL





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rapid1 replied on Thu, Jun 5 2008 6:24 AM
LOL I agree they can watch me all they want.
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That's cool. Why would anyone mind this? It's completely private. I think this is an interesting study that produced nothing surprising to me.

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SqUiD267 replied on Thu, Jun 5 2008 10:16 AM
Saw this on the news this morning. I hope they do tell those who were "spied" on. This technology scares me because of online predators and such.

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Lev_Astov replied on Thu, Jun 5 2008 11:35 AM
Online predators don't and never will have access to this sort of thing. It would take some serious hacking to get anything useful out of it.

Honestly, I think most people who were 'spied on' would be happier not knowing.

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