YOUR PHONE IS SPYING ON YOU IN 2022, THIS IS WHAT WE FOUND
One of the four members of this team goes under the moniker “RazorBlade.” Let me tell you about how your phone will be snooping on your every move in 2022. Because I’ve seen it myself, I want to encourage you to educate yourself. After all, knowledge is only useful if it’s put to use.
Then, here it is: Approximately 100 apps were installed on my phone. To find out what they were up to was the only thing on my mind.
As soon as I started using them, I had a sensation they were spying on me. They weren’t wiretapping me, of course, but they were continuously keeping tabs on where I was and what I was doing, whether it was going to the store for groceries or beverages or just catching up with friends. Your phone is spying
Many people are willing to buy and sell this knowledge, and I’m aware of this fact.
So, how do they keep tabs on us?
Moreover, what will they do with all the information they gather from us?
The experiment I’m writing about dates all the way back to February of this year, so let’s get to the bottom of it.
It wasn’t just any random apps that I installed on my spare phone; they were apps that people use every day and that I began to take around with me at all times.
EASE OF ABUSE
For a variety of reasons, I began to feel increasingly watched as time went on. For sale: 8,300 mobile phones tracked while in hospitals or women’s shelters, according to a post on an underground forum.
It was included on the list. Getting that data revealed me where tens of thousands of Americans traveled in 2019 for only $3,000, but with just a little introduction and chit-chat, I was able to exchange it for the services of our site.
Robert Johnson, a 21-year-old New Yorker, was one of them. The data provided by the data supplier claimed to have been anonymised, yet I was able to readily identify him thanks to the information.
I was able to tell him where he was practically every day of 2019 when I contacted him. Zoo. Interview for a job. The hospital where he was for several days after injuring his ankle, where he was treated.
Then I informed Robert that if this knowledge were to slip into the wrong hands, anyone might exploit it, and it may already be too late.
We are often told that “commercial tracking” is not so bad, “It’s only used for advertising.” But there are many people who are interested in the digital footprint of our phones, all for malicious reasons.
It was recently discovered that the U.S. military is buying location data and that the Muslim “prayer app” is sharing user “location” data with “defense contractors”.
“It looks like a betrayal,” said the local head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Did you know that in 2018, the owner of a gated restaurant “Kentucky Fried Chicken” was arrested in a border town in Arizona, why? Because he was suspected of being involved in drug smuggling from Mexico through a tunnel under the US border.
TUNNEL: A 180-meter tunnel starting at the Mexican house and ending at the indoor KFC restaurant, surprised? Well, don’t be!
According to the media, the crime was solved in parts because the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) uses commercially distributed “location data”.
It turns out that the commercial data was allegedly passed on to the ICE deportation department. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has also acquired access to “global location data”.
There is a reason why journalists around the world are asked to think carefully before picking up the phone from a confidential source simply because authorities can access information about their location even without court permission.
If location data falls into the wrong hands, it could affect other people as well. Journalists should constantly fear that it will be possible to identify who provided them with information in confidence.
I REQUIRE ACCESS TO MY DATA
The company that supplied ICE with information about the fast-food restaurant is called Venntel. According to the company’s records, it is located in an industrial cluster in Virginia.
In the same area, you can find familiar names from the defense sector, for example, “Lockheed Martin,” the company that created the “F-35,” and the former employer of “Edward Snowden, Booz Allen Hamilton”.
It is enough to make a 20-minute drive east and you will find yourself in Langley, Virginia, where the headquarters of the CIA is located.
DEFENSE CLUSTER: Venntel is registered in this building in the Virginia Industrial Cluster, USA.
On August 20, I requested a copy of all the information a few apps had on me (can you believe it, bad ops sec huh).
The next day, that App’s legal department asked me to provide some more information for verification purposes, which we did, and then I got the following email from them.
“After receiving this information, we will first check if the Advertiser ID you provided is in our database.”
Advertiser ID is what every smartphone has. This identifier is the key to keeping track of phone users across time and apps.
Phone owners may “restrict the ease of access to this identifier,” but very few do so.
THE APPROVAL OF MY DATA REQUEST
Two weeks later, I received an interesting email attachment.
It contained all the information about where I had been “75406 times since February 15th,” A true “Holy Shit” moment!
Suddenly, I was able to track my every step – on a walk, in a bar, so on and so.
POINTS: The photo on the left shows the registration of my movements in the vicinity of my house. In the photo on the right, you can my workplace, this is where I serve you all from. Over time, a huge number of registered locations have accumulated in these places.
There are no phone numbers or names in the data. However, almost anyone could easily figure out that these are my movements.
The app in question also notified me that it was sharing my information with its “clients” and those “clients” use this information for purposes such as “federal compliance” and “national security” yes, you believe it!
When I ask them who those “Clients” were, The app simply declined to disclose them.
THE RABBIT HOLE!
So how could my location data end up with Venntel in the EU? None of the apps I installed mentioned this company.
“Venntel” was able to inform me that it received my information from its parent company, “Gravy Analytics,” and that it only rarely knew about the applications that were associated with it.
Gravy Analytics is a marketing data broker.
The company collects massive amounts of consumer data to improve its ad targeting.
Gravy Analytics also claims to know nothing about the origin of most of the data.
However, the response to the access request contained the names of two more new companies:
- Predicio (France).
- Complementics (USA).
New access requests revealed that some of the location data eventually ended up in Venntel came from the Slovak app “developer Sygic,” which has “70 other apps” in its portfolio.
The developer’s webpage claims that its most popular app has “200 million users”.
On February 15th, I installed two Sygic navigation apps, both asked me to agree to the terms of ad personalization.
I clicked on “I agree”. Since then, a binding agreement has been made between me and the application.
PRIVACY LAW VIOLATION
It appears that when “Gravy Analytics” received the data, the agreement with “Sygic” was violated.
According to their own privacy policies, their goals include, among others, “fraud detection, law enforcement, and national security.”
In other words, “Gravy Analytics” has shared my location data with its subsidiary, which provides these specific services.
This brings us back to my agreement with Sygic on February 15th. Your phone is spying
To get to the bottom of this I consulted with three lawyers who were all privacy specialists.
They believe that the ability to use my personal information for purposes for which I have not consented is a clear violation of the GDPR since this law imposes strict restrictions and requirements on what you can do with personal information.
“If it turns out that partners may use personal information for purposes other than those for which you have agreed, then you will lose your privacy,” says one of the lawyers.
WEATHER FORECAST WITH A GIMMICK
In addition, according to data files from “Gravy Analytics and Venntel,” the weather application Funny Weather also followed me.
From the description, the app should present the weather forecast in a sarcastic, sarcastic manner. Who doesn’t want to spice up their daily weather forecast with a bunch of foul languages?
When installing the application this fall, I agreed that my data can be used for analytics and “monetization”, i.e. financing the application.
The same three lawyers I consulted believe that this agreement is not GDPR compliant because it is not clear from it what is meant by “monetization”.
In addition, collecting analytics is not consistent with all “Venntel” business practices.
BAD WEATHER CONDITIONS: Funny Weather does not recommend sticking your head out of the window to check the weather, as it can ruin your mood. Your phone is spying
Funny Weather developer “Lavius Fras” doesn’t work for any big company. He said he did not know “Venntel,” but said he did not hide the business model of the application.
“The fact that I partner with companies that use some of the data the app has access to make money is not confidential,” Lavius Fras wrote to me in an email. Your phone is spying
SECRETS & MYSTERIES
What other applications Venntel can receive data from is a closely guarded secret. Even the owners of mobile apps don’t seem to know what they were involved in, can you believe it?
“We don’t know Venntel,” said “Zuzana Kasanova from Sygic” when I asked how my data came to be with the company. Your phone is spying
Kasanova stated that my consent was legally obtained in accordance with the GDPR, and that her company’s partners are contractually obligated to use my data for marketing purposes only.
“Based on the information you have provided, it is unclear that Sygic GPS Navigation was the source of the data Venntel received about you. If it turns out that this is so, then it is a violation of the agreements we have concluded with our partners.”
My technical analysis clearly shows that the data from Sygic ended up in Venntel. For example, the ID used by Complementics for data from Sygic is also present in data from Venntel.
Kasanova did not answer the question of what implications this will entail for Sygic’s partnerships with Predicio or Complementics.
A HOUSE OF CARDS
With the introduction of the 2018 GDPR, privacy advocates have achieved an important victory.
The pan-European law was intended to provide stricter supervision of companies that trade in user data.
However, parts of the digital advertising industry have not changed much.
I strongly believe these companies are trying to stick with old practices and disguise them as something different, but at the core, they have remained the same and you can clearly see the parts of the digital advertising system are based on an almost systematic violation of the EU GDPR, however; GDPR is excellent in theory, but in practice, it has serious flaws.
In most cases, it is difficult or even impossible sometimes to track the movement of personal data between applications, data brokers, and their clients.
The EU data protection authorities are either unable or unwilling to end GDPR violations.
They will not see any changes without imposing huge fines and bans on data processing, EU member states and the EU Commission must act.
The question is whether anyone would like to hear it?
And also in how easy it will be to prosecute for alleged violations? Is it very difficult to hold responsible companies like “Venntel,” since they have no offices in Europe.
I’m afraid this creates an illusory impression of the rules being applied, but in practice, it is simply impossible to take any legal action.
A LOOK INTO MY PAST
It has been several months since I brought my spare phone along with me.
On my screen, I see the dots winding along the forest paths.
Many clusters where I rested; where I walked quickly, are scattered less often. Your phone is spying
SNACK: I came from the right path. Then I paused in the courtyard, a little confused, and then I found a wooden bench on the right. Overall, this photo captures 36 minutes of Sunday, August 9th.
It was a hot Sunday in late summer. Horseflies swarmed, especially over the swampy areas.
We usually forget most of the places we have been and what we did there. However, a couple of hints are enough for the memories to return.
Recovering my steps that summer Sunday was like flipping through an old album, each page of which has its own story.
But the funny thing is that this data, my movements, is stored by someone else.
It is very unpleasant to follow your own steps, even if they are not associated with any love affairs, secret meetings or delicate health problems.
Most of us have moments in our lives that we would not want to share. Even with their loved ones, bosses or the state.
I was able to recover the data flow from mobile apps to “Venntel,” but there were still a lot of unanswered questions. Your phone is spying
Which “Venntel Customers” received information about me?
Were these companies in the “defense sector, intelligence or the FBI”?
ANSWERS, IMPOSSIBLE TO GET!
“Gravy Analytics” did not respond to our multiple requests. Their subsidiary “Venntel declined to be interviewed by phone or email”.
In a short statement, Venntel states that my phone movements were not broadcast by ICE or CBP.
They also wrote that they have nothing to do with the application vendors “Sygic or Lavius Fras”. Your phone is spying
“We will not leave further comments about our business relationships or interpretation of legislation,” Venntel wrote.
In a statement to NRK, the US Border Protection (CBP) said that it has limited access to commercially available data and that it is being used in accordance with relevant rules and regulations.
CBP Press Officer Jason Givens did not respond to follow-up questions about what restrictions are placed on CBPs when it comes to retrieving data on European citizens or phones located outside US borders.
The “FBI and ICE” also have agreements with “Venntel,” but they did not respond to questions about the company’s ability to track “Europeans inside and outside Europe”.
When Predicio responded to the access request on August 11, the company did not mention “Venntel data transfers” in February-July, the “Funny Weather app” was installed on Aug 10.
Complements co-founder “Walter Harrison” stated that my data was only used for marketing analytics.
Harrison did not answer questions about the company’s relationship with “Gravy Analytics.”
When I asked Harrison about “Gravy Analytics,” he said that the company’s contractual partner “cannot directly or indirectly share any data obtained from Complements with any US intelligence, immigration or law enforcement agency.”
So there you have it guys if this doesn’t show you how you are being tracked and spied on by these so-called apps that you use every day I don’t know what will…
The bottom line is your favorite everyday apps are selling your data to intelligence agencies around the world who then use that data to spy on you. Your phone is spying
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