US officials using mobile ad location data to track COVID-19 spread

Location data for up to 500 American cities is there, CDC scraping mobile ad location data for COVID-19 spread.

1 minute & 10 seconds read time

It looks like millions of Americans are being spied on (even more so than they already are), with sources of The Wall Street Journal saying that the CDC is using federal, state, and local governments access to users' location data from mobile ads to help track COVID-19 coronavirus spread.

US officials using mobile ad location data to track COVID-19 spread 01

The Wall Street Journal reports that the anonymized data helps CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) officials understand where people are gathering in large numbers, whether they're honoring the stay-at-home lockdowns, and how retail is suffering because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

How is the CDC doing this? They are reportedly gettring their data through a COVID-19 Mobility Data Network, something that was created by experts at Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, and other schools. While it sounds good in this way, the idea that mobile ad data is being used to track is a huge invasion of privacy. Will these new spy powers be taken away once COVID-19 is no longer a threat?

It was only two weeks ago that Israel enabled its emergency measures for its security agencies, granting them permission to track mobile phone data of people suspected to have coronavirus. The new spy powers are 'temporary laws' that were passed in an overnight sitting of the cabinet, bypassing parliamentary approval.

Even the Association for Civil Rights in Israel said the empowering of its Israeli security agencies is a "dangerous precedent and a slippery slope". These same spy powers are something a country implements during counter-terrorism operations, not a disease outbreak.

Buy at Amazon

Contagion (2011)

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
* Prices last scanned on 6/11/2024 at 8:25 pm CDT - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Anthony joined the TweakTown team in 2010 and has since reviewed 100s of graphics cards. Anthony is a long time PC enthusiast with a passion of hate for games built around consoles. FPS gaming since the pre-Quake days, where you were insulted if you used a mouse to aim, he has been addicted to gaming and hardware ever since. Working in IT retail for 10 years gave him great experience with custom-built PCs. His addiction to GPU tech is unwavering and has recently taken a keen interest in artificial intelligence (AI) hardware.

Newsletter Subscription

Related Tags