Smartphones’ privacy problems

This video says about itself:

Researchers claim travelling around using an Apple iPhone secretly tracks and records your every move. They argue that software on your phone has been tailing you for nearly a year and that’s raising big questions about personal privacy.

From daily News Line in England:

Saturday, 23 April 2011


THE millions of people throughout the world who rushed out last June to buy the latest must-have piece of technology from the Apple company got a shock this week when researchers revealed that what they had bought was a permanent surveillance device, capable of tracking and recording their every move.

The Apple iPhone contains a nasty bit of software that does not appear in any brochure and which can’t be switched off by the owner.

This records exactly where the owner goes and this information is then recorded along with the exact time.

The thing, of course, about this unsolicited aspect of the commodity’s use value is that its principal user is the state, and its police forces.

The information recorded on the iPhone is also copied onto any computer to which the phone has been attached.

Any information that is copied can be made available to anyone with access to either the iPhone or the computer and all without the owner’s knowledge.

Apple is not alone in producing this type of commodity with this use value. The most popular smartphones on the market are the so-called Android phones which have virtually the same capability but appear to retain the information for a shorter period of time.

This use of technology to track and monitor the behaviour of individuals is, of course, nothing new, since every advance in technology is seized upon by the capitalist state to enable its maximum use for spying, security or military purposes.

Mobile phones have always had the capability of pinpointing a person’s location, what is new is that whereas in the past this information was held by the mobile phone companies for a legally specified period of time and accessible to the police only by means of a court order, today anyone getting hold of your phone or access to your computer – by hacking it – can get even more accurate information.

Technology has long been used by the capitalist state to police the activities of workers, unions and anyone considered a danger to it.

In 2001 the European Parliament issued a report that stated that every e-mail, telephone call or fax message sent within Europe was routinely intercepted and recorded by the security services.

The recent revelations about the illegal activities of undercover police provocateurs in the environmental movement gave a glimpse of the lengths the state is prepared to go to protect the interests of the capitalist class.

In addition, the police in Britain are now acquiring the use of high-tech, unmanned drones to use for surveillance in urban areas.

This massive increase in surveillance by the capitalist state is cloaked in platitudes about it being solely used for crime prevention – but the fact of life today is that capitalism in its death agony sees every worker fighting for their job, every community fighting against hospital closures and every union fighting against the destruction of the welfare state as engaging in a ‘criminal action’ that must be dealt with in order that the bankers can survive and capitalism be kept going.

The ruling class throughout the world has declared civil war on its own working class and imperialist war on the workers and masses of the ex-colonial countries in its increasingly desperate struggle to survive. Behind all the words about the ‘freedom of the individual’ is the crudest possible suppression of freedom, using both the cruise missile and modern methods of communication.

Technology is being used not to liberate humankind but to subjugate it, control it, and murder it in the name of private profit.

See also here. And here.

Juan Cole, Truthdig: “President Barack Obama is actually siding with police who want to use GPS devices to track you without a warrant. It always disturbed me when on ‘Star Trek’ the captain asked the ship’s computer where a crew member was and was told the person’s exact location… Is America heading toward being one big star ship, where government officials can casually inquire at will into our whereabouts and private doings? Among the many elements of the Obama administration that have disappointed civil libertarians is its interest in spying on Americans”: here.

Your iPhone will track you–even after you say stop: here.

France probes iPhone privacy: here.

99% of Android Phones Leak Personal Data: here.

Computer security firm viaForensics recently found that top apps for Android and iPhone devices may leave customer data exposed to hackers: here.

Britain: Schools are snooping on social networking sites and Googling potential candidates before appointing new staff, teachers were warned today: here.

USA: The Department of Homeland Security has requested that Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox browser, remove an add-on that allows web surfers to access websites whose domain names were seized by the government for copyright infringement, Mozilla’s lawyer said Thursday: here.

Factories making sought-after Apple iPads and iPhones in China are forcing staff to sign pledges not to commit suicide, an investigation has revealed. At least 14 workers at Foxconn factories in China have killed themselves in the last 16 months as a result of horrendous working conditions: here.

Foxconn Factory’s Violations: iPad Factory Workers’ Grievances Detailed In Report: here.

US Internet service providers join big media in copyright crackdown: here.

Twenty-seven thousand South Koreans filed a civil suit against electronics giant Apple today, suing for almost 28 billion won (£15.3 million) in damages for alleged privacy violations: here.

Computer revolution reaches North Korea: here.

Chinese environmentalists issued a report on Wednesday accusing US-based transnational Apple of breaching its own corporate responsibility standards by using suppliers that violate the law and endanger public health by discharging heavy metals and other toxins: here.

7 thoughts on “Smartphones’ privacy problems

  1. Samsung/Apple war heats up

    SOUTH KOREA: Electronics giant Samsung is pressing the United States to bar Apple from importing key products including the latest iPhone and iPad devices amid a patent dispute.

    Samsung said today that it had filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission over what it claims are Apple’s violation of five patents held by Samsung.

    Apple also sued Samsung in April, claiming that some of its devices “slavishly” copy Apple’s designs.


  2. Apple bans workers’ app

    Apple is very keen to cover up the work practices that workers making smart phones are subjected to.

    A new game, Phone Story, was put up on the Apple-controlled App Store.

    It charts the troubling supply chain that results in smart phones.

    One of the games sees workers leaping from their factory building. This is a clear reference to suicides and attempted suicides by workers at Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn. Apple has since banned the game.

    Apple is keen to boast about all the information accessible from its gadgets—but the truth seems harder to reach.

    Susan McGuire, Glasgow


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  5. On April 26, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed CISPA – the Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Protection Act – by a vote of 248-168. This week, the Senate may vote on CISPA-like bills (Lieberman-Collins S.2105 or McCain S.2151).

    CISPA gives the government, including military spy agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA), virtually unlimited powers to capture our personal information — medical records, private emails, financial information — all without a warrant or proper oversight.

    Tell Your Senators: Stop CISPA

    Civil liberties groups and progressives unanimously opposed the bill, as did Ron Paul. President Obama warned the House that he will veto the bill because it does not protect our privacy, but they ignored his warnings.

    Democrats control the Senate, so we should be able to stop CISPA there. Tell your Senators to protect your privacy from Big Brother and oppose CISPA.

    Thanks for all you do!

    Bob Fertik


  6. Pingback: New bat research app | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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