NSA Warns Location Tracking Settings on Mobile Devices Are Difficult If Not Impossible to Turn Off

By B.N. Frank

There seems to be no shortage of expert warnings that smartphones and other wireless or “smart” devices offer infinite possibilities for surveillance and data collection.

Recent reports of government tracking software installed on hundreds of mobile apps and vulnerabilities on Samsung Galaxy smartphones are the tip of the iceberg. NSA has also warned about mitigation-resistant location tracking settings on mobile devices.

From Schneier:

SECURITY: The NSA on the Risks of Exposing Location Data

[2020.08.06] The NSA has issued an advisory on the risks of location data.

Mitigations reduce, but do not eliminate, location tracking risks in mobile devices. Most users rely on features disabled by such mitigations, making such safeguards impractical. Users should be aware of these risks and take action based on their specific situation and risk tolerance. When location exposure could be detrimental to a mission, users should prioritize mission risk and apply location tracking mitigations to the greatest extent possible. While the guidance in this document may be useful to a wide range of users, it is intended primarily for NSS/DoD system users.

The document provides a list of mitigation strategies, including turning things off:

If it is critical that location is not revealed for a particular mission, consider the following recommendations:

Determine a non-sensitive location where devices with wireless capabilities can be secured prior to the start of any activities. Ensure that the mission site cannot be predicted from this location.

Leave all devices with any wireless capabilities (including personal devices) at this non-sensitive location. Turning off the device may not be sufficient if a device has been compromised.

For mission transportation, use vehicles without built-in wireless communication capabilities, or turn off the capabilities, if possible.

Of course, turning off your wireless devices is itself a signal that something is going on. It’s hard to be clandestine in our always connected world.

Protect Your Privacy with a Phone Shield Faraday Bag

See also article published by Arstechnica.

Equally distressing – there are lawsuits and recalls on several cell phone models due to dangerous levels of radiation (see 1, 2, 3). Even if you don’t use any of these models – there’s already sufficient scientific evidence proving that radiation exposure from ALL cell phones and wireless sources is harmful.

Activist Post reports regularly about unsafe technology. For more information, visit our archives.

Image: Pixabay

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