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Tuesday, January 05, 2021

Your cell phone is a snitch

The Modesto Bee headline said, "Californians still going out despite stay-at-home orders, tracking data shows."

There are two things wrong with the premise of the headline.

The first thing wrong is that there are "stay at-home orders."

No government in America has the authority to order you to stay at home for months on end.

The second thing wrong is the tracking data. Cyber-stalking is against the law, and yet Google does so with impunity.

The Bee reported, "California residents have not greatly reduced their visits to stores and workplaces since Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered them to stay at home in early December, according to a Sacramento Bee review of mobility trend data collected by Google from cell phones.

"At the start of the pandemic, when Newsom issued a sweeping stay-at-home order in March, visits to California stores and restaurants plummeted, falling more than 50% by mid-April as compared to a January baseline.

"As those orders were relaxed, visits to stores and restaurants remained lower — just not as low as during the first shutdown. Compared to a January baseline, visits to stores and restaurants were consistently between 25% and 30% lower from June through November."

The lockdown was supposed to last 2 weeks.

And the lockdown is both unconstitutional and ineffectual because it never made the virus go away.

Google's tracking of people going to stores and going to work is eerie but the newspaper's staff had no qualms about using the data that Google obtained unethically and perhaps illegally.

The story said, "Google also tracks visits to parks and transit stations, along with mobility around private residences.

"Visits to transit stations statewide were down about 49% from Dec. 12 through 18 compared to a January baseline. Those types of visits were down by about 44% a month earlier and by nearly 60% in early April.

"Visits to parks and other outdoor recreation sites have fluctuated during the pandemic, partially due to the weather. Such visits statewide were down about 31% from Dec. 12 through 18 compared to a January baseline. Those types of visits were down about 22% a month earlier. Such visits were higher than the January baseline for much of the summer. Health officials have deemed outdoor activities like hiking relatively safe compared to most indoor recreation.

"Mobility around private residences statewide was up about 14% from Dec. 12 through 18 compared to a January baseline. Those types of visits were up by about 12% a month earlier and up by 23% in April."

People call this covid 1984 but Google and Apple have enabled themselves to track people for years. Only now is the full depth of this coming to light.

The 21st century increasingly looks like a revival of 1930s fascism and police states but with better technology and less control over those in power.

And we are seeing the beginning of the abuse of this power.


  1. My wife doesn't like cell phones (except that she can play canasta on them) saying she doesn't want to be "soap on a rope".

    America can go back to landlines and just use cells for emergencies. We do have a choice.

    The 21st century increasingly looks like a revival of 1930s fascism and police states but with better technology and less control over those in power.

    During WWII, Himmler decreed Jewish husbands of Gentile wives would be "deported". Said wives showed up en masse at 8 PrinzAlbrechtStrasse and the order was never carried out.

    It's the people, still. Technology may help the bad guys, but we still have the final say.

    1. I never left my landline and use my cellphone only as necessary. And I have a simple cell. Today's smart phones are computers with a telephone function, and therefore just as subject to snooping as desktops and laptops.

    2. By that retarded logic Professor Edwina would have us all go back to smoke signals.

      If tracking was an actual concern the market just might come up with a product to deal with it.


    3. Just like vote fraud must not be an actual concern, since nothing has been done about it. Right? What kind of logic is that?

    4. That deserves a hearty Bwahahaha!

      You've just exposed ROLCON jakee "logic" Alex.

      First, ROL CON jakee shows his reading comprehension is null and void. As he doesn't understand that going "back to smoke signals" was NOT what his obsession, eductcher, was proposing.

      Second, ROL CON jakee has cawed on this site numerous times that "system is corrupt!" Then, in a failed attempt to snark his obsession, he pretty much states the corrupt system might solve the problem of tracking. And that's AFTER Greg's post right below this one.

      ROL CON jakee needs to take a break from stalking his obsession. His posts are getting dumber from it.

  2. You can turn off the GPS on your phone. Won't work. Google can still upload the data. You can turn your phone off. Won't work. It still tracks the data and uploads it as soon as it's turned on.
    You can pull the battery out of your phone. Might work. Drop your phone into a mylar or metal Faraday cage. Might work.
    Or you can leave the thing at home. But that defeats the purpose of having emergency communication available wherever you are. When I was a Boy Scout (many moons ago when the Scouts were still Scouts) we were taught to always have change in our pockets for an emergency phone call. Good luck finding a pay phone now.

    1. A friend tried to get his DSL line back, but was told that it couldn't be done since the landline to his apt. building had been removed. Could this be true?

      In many parts of the world, the old copper landlines are getting very old & rotten (I used to live in a place where the phones were out quite often, it was a godsend when cell phones came into being.)

      Maybe- just to keep in touch with what's going on around us- we ought to bring back the Party Lines, which my auntie loved! She'd be on the phone for hours & hours, smoking cigarettes the whole time. Outlived three doctors who all told her that smoking would kill her; I guess it finally did, but she was 89 so I reckon she had a good run!

  3. Willkommen in der Neuen Weltordnung.

  4. have enabled themselves to track people for years

    No Congress enabled them. And why not since Congress has let the NSA do likewise for a generation already. The 4th amendment is a dead letter.

    So the government has been spying on us all for decades in cooperation with phone companies. Nobody but libertarians cared.

  5. Early word from Georgia the steal is on again. In heavily Red counties they are giving false info out about where to vote.

    Clearly the GOP in Georgia is dead.

  6. I am old enough to remember when leaving your house or office meant you were free from annoying interruptions for a while. Sure, your spouse or boss could track you down by calling your favorite bars but they would only do that if it was important and bartenders could be incentivized to say you weren't there.

    1. Back in the early 80s when I had to wear a pager, I lived far out in the country so the pager didn’t work!! I was dropped from the emergency night support rotation.

    2. When I tended bar, if a customer said he was not there, then I would tell the caller he/she was not there and then told the customer that was the customer's last drink. House rule.

      I use WAZE to navigate while driving. WAZE is owned by Google so I know I am being tracked. Not happy with it but it is a price I have to pay. Maybe using a different navigator program would help, but then I would still have the other problems with having a cell phone.

    3. Good point. We make choices.

      I publish books through Amazon.

      Google owns Blogspot and it is one of the 3 ad services I use.

      My objection is to tracking people.

  7. I will never own a phone with google’s operating system on it. Apple is far from perfect, but they are better than google by far. Whatever the price differential, I am paying it.

  8. I stopped worrying about the whole phone tracking thing. I could leave it at home but my car computer talks to the satellites anyway and it's easy to attach me by other sources (i.e. credit cards and super saver cards).

    I will say that since the Wuhan Flu and before Comrade Governor Whitless shut them down, I wasn't taking my phone to the bars or restaurants and I only pay with cash.

  9. "...But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties,..." [W. Churchill, 1940]

    Lots of people have attempted to define what Winnie meant by 'perverted science'. I think what he was referring to in large part was the propagandist power in radio and movies and the ability to tap/track phone calls which the E. German Stazi used to great effect during their reign.

    Churchill would crap himself if he saw how the Tech Oligarchs control people now.

  10. I leave my cell phone home home most of the time. Considering my landline often doesn't work, I don't have many phone calls.

  11. How bad is the tracking?

    Spent some time in The Home Depot on the roofing supplies aisle. Bought a bucket of Wet R Dry to patch up a leak. No online search for a roofer were made, but the next day I started getting ads for roofers served up by Google.
    Either they are tapped into what I paid for with a Visa card or their geolocation tricking is sharp enough to note a half hour spent in the roofing aisle.
    Being watched that closely isn't creepy at all is it?

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