Tracking your smartphones location via aggregate battery usage is not the most efficient or accurate method but it can be done and Samsung (and others) have not provided a switch which makes that particular data private. Researchers have shown that by tracking the battery drain of the 3G cellular radio on the battery one can determine distance from the cellular base station the phone is connected to and a coarse location based on interference environmental factors such as buildings which partially block the signal. It is only a very coarse locator but does give better information than just the base station the phone is connected to and as we are creatures of habit it allows tracking normal patterns of movement. This is nowhere near as accurate as GPS tracking and does require a bit of work to pull off but as battery usage and levels are sent by the phone in the clear with no method of preventing that it should cause some privacy concerns for users. You can read the research paper (in PDF) by following the link from The Inquirer.
"SCIENTISTS have warned of a new smartphone risk after discovering that battery power can be used to track a person's movements."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- A billion things are already on the IoT: Verizon @ The Inquirer
- ARM and IBM bolster Internet of Things with cloud-based mbed starter kit @ The Inquirer
- May the fourth be with you: Torvalds names next Linux v 4.0 @ The Register
- UK Scientists Claim 1Tbps Data Speed Via Experimental 5G Technology @ Slashdot
- Intel Moving Forward With 10nm, Will Switch Away From Silicon For 7nm @ Slashdot
Okay- tinfoil comment spoiler
Okay- tinfoil comment spoiler alert-
If I understand it from the paranoids, they can turn your phone on or off and just about any app on it. Some even say they can overload your battery (ouch). If you believe NCIS, they can get you bills, logs, and recorded conversations- as well as track anyone that has a battery with any juice left.
So, why would they need this except to tell them how they have to track you?
At least for me, it is
At least for me, it is another way of providing personal information without agreeing to and without any way to make the data private. It is a lousy way to track people from a tinfoil hat perspective.
I can see maybe enabling it
I can see maybe enabling it for 911 calls, but for any thing else no, It just means more nefarious ad slingers and their ilk have another privacy vector to use and abuse. Those ad folks are getting scary lately, and it’s time to put a stop to all this tracking.
Does Snowden wear tinfoils as
Does Snowden wear tinfoils as well?
From what I am seeing the big
From what I am seeing the big issue here is that anyone can do this, not just the phone companies or tower operators. This would be a big issue, and still could, seeing as it can be done totally passively, as opposed to active triangulation with fake towers, or directional antennias.