If You Have a Smart Phone, Anyone Can Now Track Your Every Move

NavisonChristopher Mims spills the beans for Technology Review:

Location services company Navizon has a new system, called Navizon I.T.S., that could allow tracking of visitors in malls, museums, offices, factories, secured areas and just about any other indoor space. It could be used to examine patterns of foot traffic in retail spaces, assure that a museum is empty of visitors at closing time, or even to pinpoint the location of any individual registered with the system. But let’s set all that aside for a minute while we freak out about the privacy implications.

Most of us leave Wi-Fi on by default, in part because our phones chastise us when we don’t. (Triangulation by Wi-Fi hotspots is important for making location services more accurate.) But you probably didn’t realize that, using proprietary new “nodes” from Navizon, any device with an active Wi-Fi radio can be seen by a system like Navizon’s.

To demonstrate the technology, here’s Navizon CEO and founder Cyril Houri hunting for one of his colleagues at a trade show using a kind of first person shooter-esque radar.

[continues at Technology Review]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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11 Comments on "If You Have a Smart Phone, Anyone Can Now Track Your Every Move"

  1. won’t let us put the chip “in” you? ok, we’ll put the chip “on” you…

    • >ok, we’ll put the chip “on” you..

      I’ll never forget the day that a government agent broke down my front door and forced me, at gunpoint, to sign a smartphone contract and then to use the phone constantly throughout the day.

      • I’ll never forget the day I said, “Fuck this shit!” and didn’t get a smart phone or sign over my soul (uh, I mean, SIGN UP) to social media data-miners.

      • Jin The Ninja | Apr 22, 2012 at 10:13 pm |

        really quite a redaction of social history. consumerism is a form of social control (as is capitalism from where it is derived).  the US may not be heavy handed in its approach to censorship and authority (arguably), but it IS subtly effective in the same way a totalitarian regime is, using violence and coersion.

      • Portable computers (smart phones) are amazing things. I love the processes I can perform on them. Does it mean it needs to know my fucking location all the the time? NO. They have infected an extension of our minds crystallized in the powerful portable computer predicted by science fiction.  And just because you have an old phone does not mean they can’t track your location and record your conversations and texts, they just do that server side. This is just more sophisticated and saves on their processing costs and uses your battery life to do it, just sending the information in nice organized packages that take little bandwidth. If you don’t want to be tracked these days, you can’t have a mobile device period. I tried going without a phone for a while, but I like having instant lines of communication with my friends and family. And the targets are not people that are aware of the tracking and still use their phones, the targets are the ones that live in ignorance of the capabilities of tracking technology in these here modern times. 

  2. Smart phones are the new ID cards of the future.

  3. I guess you can skip internet access outside of your home, or you can let the mall know you’re there (which they can walk down the hall and see if they can’t actually identify you).

  4. it’s not just dumb phones
    it’s any cell phone
    on or off
    always on GPS just makes it easier

    now, if you had an unregistered sim card in your phone
    say from some developing country
    they would know where you are
    but it would take them quite a bit of time to figure out who you are

    but if you were going to communicate something nefarious
    you’d use Skype and a VPN
    and not a cell phone

  5. I remember a day I was sitting at a friends house and two people were sitting in the same room, texting each other… Now I ask you, what is a smart phone? and if they are smart, why do dumb people have them?

  6. Thats why I make my cat carry my phone, so they only know where my cat is. The upside is I get to bring my cat everywhere I go!

  7. Bruteloop | Apr 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm |

    Given I’m one of those neanderthals that only use his phone as a phone I’ve actually started to leave it at home quite a bit. 
    This has pissed off some people. The ones who expect instant access always (they tend to use Facebook a lot as well).
    But, given that most of our lives are staggeringly banal and predictable anyway why would they need to track anyone that often?

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