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Technology & InternetIs Your Phone as Private as You Think?
However, users may not realize that phone companies track everything you do on your phone. Here are the facts about what they know and how their knowledge affects you.
These days, people can do almost anything on their personal phones. From web browsers to video chat platforms, the possibilities of today’s smartphones are endless. Besides being great for entertainment, smartphones are also valuable tools for running a pool guard manufacturing company or designer clothing business.
Many people think of their phones as their social and professional lifelines and can’t imagine a world without them. However, users may not realize that phone companies track everything you do on your phone. Here are the facts about what they know and how their knowledge affects you.
How do they know?
Your cell phone communicates with the nearest tower every few seconds. The phone sends this signal so you’ll be able to send and receive calls, access the Internet, etc.; it’s what makes mobile service possible. Because of this communication, phone companies know where you are every minute of the day.
Consumers with smartphones have much more at stake. Because you’re required to purchase a data plan with a smartphone, phone companies track everything you do on the 3G or 4G network. Data tracking means that your email, web searches, downloads, and more can be accessed by your service providers.
Who has access?
Your phone company, of course, keeps track of what you’re doing on your smartphone. The primary reason for doing so is for billing purposes. Your service provider needs to know how many texts, emails, and calls you’re making so that you don’t go over your monthly limit. Some phone companies store this information for as long as 7 years.
Law enforcement and government officials also have the right to request information from phone companies. Obtaining a person’s cell phone records is fairly easy. Police can tap into records if they believe an individual may have any information related to a case. They can find out where you were and when, even if you’re not a suspect.
How much is too much?
Cell phone records have helped solve cases in the past. At the same time, many phone companies believe law enforcement officials are using phone companies as personal trackers. Service providers received more than 1.3 million requests for customers’ cell phone records last year. Users are concerned that this is an invasion of their privacy, and that if left unchecked, cell phones could turn the United States into a police state. At present, users should not expect anything they do on their cell phones to remain private.
What’s being done?
Many phone companies support legislation that would make it more difficult for police to obtain phone records. They believe that in order to gain access to cell data, police should follow the same procedure they do for a search warrant. As of now, Congress has not passed any laws, but service providers are working with lawmakers to get the process in motion. Before then, you just might want to be careful about how much you do on your cell phone.