[guardian-dev] thoughts on mobile tracking

Hans-Christoph Steiner hans at guardianproject.info
Thu Jan 16 10:10:44 EST 2014

On 01/14/2014 05:11 PM, Matej Kovacic wrote:
> Hi,
>> I think that with the big data point of view, it would be pretty easy
>> to corrolate a few SIM cards into a single identity, so I think your
>> multiple SIM card idea would provide only minimal protection.  Plus I
> It is true, if we are talking about NSA. But don't forget about other
> countries. Sometimes minimal protection could be enough.

Unfortunately, the equipment to do this kind of mass surveillance are all
commodities available on the open market.  And its not even that expensive to
do.  We know that many countries are doing this because of leaks and such (US,
Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, China, Iran, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya,
Germany, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, etc).  I think it is safe to say that
basically every country with some internet or mobile phone users is setting up
mass surveillance systems.

>> believe its a crime in many countries to change your IMEI, so you'll
>> be trackable there regardless of the IMSI used.
> Yes, but if you would change IMEI only from predefined pool (and you own
> all phones), that will be less problematic

In some parts of the world, like Africa, having multiple SIM cards in a single
phone is common.  We have one from Zimbabwe that has 4 SIM card slots.  You
could program that to switch around between them.  But calls and SMS would
then show up from different numbers.

>> The only solution I've seen for widescale wireless network coverage
>> that does not track its users is certain forms of municipal wifi.
> That is not completely true, because you are still connected to mobile
> network. A solution would probably be to disconnect from mobile network
> while you have wi-fi signal...

I mean only using wifi, not having GSM/CDMA/LTE at all.

>> The solution for network tracking in the foreseeable future is not
>> technical.  It is political and social.  We need to pass laws to
> Well, this is true for democratic countries only. In non-democratic
> countries it is not possible to achieve that change in a foreseeable
> future...

No matter what the government, people still have the choice of whether to use
cellular devices or not, or use wifi-only devices.  Yes, sometimes that choice
means no connectivity.  The social part of the solution includes educating
people that mobile devices are the perfect device for their government to spy
on them.  Then we all can better make those choices.


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