Your Mobile Privacy:  Even a Dumb Phone Shares Location Data

Whether you know it or not, whether you consent or not, whether you like it or not, your location data can be constantly tracked by your cell carrier – even IF your phone is a block or ‘dumb’ phone.

As Pro Publica reporter Megha Rajagopalan points out, cell phone companies collect location data from cell towers — which all cell phones use. Industry experts told Rajagopalan that location data from cell towers can be almost as precise as GPS.  As users move, their mobile phones register at each tower they pass, allowing phone companies to identify in real time where users are and to look back and see where they have been.

Why are we telling you this now? We recently asked for – and you generously shared – your mobile privacy stories. Many said they eschew smart phones because they are concerned about mobile privacy. Not having a smart phone is not enough to protect your privacy. As Pro Publica’s Rajagopalan advises, “[T]he only way to be 100% sure you’re not being tracked is to throw that phone out or take out the battery.”

We are continuing to monitor this issue, and would like to hear your experiences. Has your mobile privacy been compromised? We’d like to hear about it. Share your story!