Wi-Fi hotspots tend to be stationary and can be used as a landmark by mobile devices; knowledge of where the mobile device is in relation to wireless hotspots provides for the ability to find an individual's location with a reasonable level of accuracy. As there are almost always more points of reference compared with the cell tower triangulation technique, the level of accuracy when using Wi-Fi hotspots will generally be more accurate. When it comes to location services and tracking, the most important elements are the latitude and longitude value of a mobile device's current location.
How this data is collected has recently been an issue of debate in the judicial system. The main focus of debate stems from law enforcement's authority to obtain location information without a warrant. By requesting this data from cell phone providers without a warrant, it removes the need for a judge to review the circumstances and determine if it is justified, which can lead to abuse from law enforcement.
Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of U. S District Court for the District of Columbia passed a ruling in October of that stated that prosecutors do not need a warrant in order to request cell phone location data. This decision overturned a ruling made by a magistrate judge in August, which outlined a need for a warrant in order to obtain an individual's cell phone location data.
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Location services, as with any sensitive data, have the ability to be abused by third parties. There have been a number of cases of potential abuse, and a large coordinated effort by the American Civil Liberties Union ACLU was initiated in order to request details on requests for location information made by law enforcement ACLU, In total, requests were made in 32 states across the country with law enforcement agencies of various sizes.
The requests are being made in order to determine precisely how these records were requested, and how this information was utilized. By making these inquiries, the ACLU may expose potential misuses of requests made by law enforcement.
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As the current policies surrounding these requests are often vague or non-existent, the ACLU hopes to provide more clarity around how law enforcement makes requests for individual's data, which will lead to the general public will have more information about how and why law enforcement can request access to their personal information. Location data obtained from cell phone providers is not the only issue that has garnered attention recently. The storage of location data has become an increasing concern since April In this month, stored historical data was discovered by security researchers on both iPhone and Android devices.
This information was being stored locally and at no time was Apple or Google viewing it. Although no sensitive information left these devices, it raised a concern about information being collected without user consent. Additionally, by storing the historical location data on the devices themselves, it could provide additional information in the event authorities ever had cause to search an individual's cell phone data.
No longer would a request to the cell phone provider be required, as at least some of the historical information would be stored on the devices themselves. While this information is still available on Android devices, the iPhone platform was updated to reduce the size of data stored on the device, delete these files completely when location services are turned off, and encrypt this data on the device, which assists in limiting unauthorized access. While legitimate requests to view current and historical location data of a user are primarily made by law enforcement, many cases exist where individuals or organizations are provided with this information, often without the user's knowledge.
A study performed by The Wall Street Journal The Wall Street Journal, of applications available for the iPhone and Android platforms showed an alarming number of approved applications that send location data to the application owner or third parties. Where this location information is being stored, or how this information is being utilized, is unknown, as there is no enforcement surrounding this functionality after a user provides consent.
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The issue of data abuse in mobile applications is further inflated when mobile malware, or malicious applications running on mobile devices, is considered. Malware targeting mobile devices, specifically on the Android platform, has risen exponentially in the past year. While there have been instances of malware on the iPhone and Windows platforms, Android's open marketplace, coupled with the user's ability to choose third-party marketplaces, has fostered a large number of malicious applications.
The majority of these applications are often discovered on third-party sources; however, there have been instances of malicious applications being placed on the official market, and subsequently removed by Google.
The most common way a mobile device becomes infected is when a user installs a malicious application. Malware will pose as a legitimate application in order to entice a user to download and install it.
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Installing applications from third-party markets, however, is not the only way to get infected. Simply navigating to the wrong website or plugging these devices into the wrong computer can also lead to a malicious application installation. One current trend seen in the wild at this time is when a user is asked to install a legitimate application, a malicious update is pushed out immediately afterwards. Once installed, these applications will often send SMS messages to premium-rate numbers, record phone calls, collect contact information and, in some cases, record location data as well.
This information is then sent to the attackers, where it can be sold or used for illegal purposes. Criminals can use location data on individuals in many ways. Knowing exactly when a person leaves their house, and when they are returning is a substantial help when planning a robbery. Alternatively, knowing the location of an individual will often reveal intimate details of their life, which can in some cases lead to other crimes, such as blackmail.
Dynamic call tracking works similarly to Google Analytics but has additional software that allows websites to dynamically swap phone numbers presented to each user when the website loads.
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This is known as dynamic call tracking. In essence, providers for this type of service supply users with software that is placed on their website which controls what numbers are shown to users on the site.
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Channel based tracking allows businesses to capture information on call sources down to the marketing channel, such as AdWords , Bing Ads , Organic and Referral Traffic etc. This provides a breakdown of the source of the call but does not provide particular information about the web session if the call is from an online marketing source.
This method involves assigning a particular number for a particular source of the web session. Unique session tracking tracks down to each user session on a website, by pooling numbers and allocating each web session a number for a period of time, also known as dynamic number insertion. This allows web-tracking software to accurately link each call to a web session if it results in a call being made to the number shown.
The data which can be drawn from this method can be:. This provides a much more rounded data-set for marketing purposes and can be integrated with industry standard software such as CRM Systems , AdWords, Google Analytics etc. Static number tracking allows marketers to assign an individual phone number to online and traditional marketing sources such as Newspaper, Radio, Television, Billboards and other mediums of delivery for marketing materials.
It differs from session based tracking as software cannot be run to dynamically replace the numbers for each viewer, however, this is useful for marketing purposes. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved March 15, Retrieved Search Engine Watch.
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