Mobile carriers can collect more personal information than we think

We are all aware of our mobile phone carrier’s abilities to track our phones based on our last location. However, Australian authorities went a little more advanced to find out the exact visited locations of a couple who stayed their country from Wuhan.

Hailing from China, the coronavirus epidemic is on the rise and health experts all over the world are in search of a treatment plan that can minimize the effects of this deadly disease. Countries around the world are also restricting travel to and from China to avoid the spread of the contagious illness from travelers.

Unfortunately, a couple traveling from Wuhan China to Australia was diagnosed with the coronavirus. And to find out where precisely the two have been in the country, Australian authorities turned to a phone tracking system that is usually limited to track criminals.

This protocol was used by the Aussie government to find out if there were any other Australians who had been exposed to coronavirus through the couple. However, this made us wonder how much information our mobile network operators are able to collect?

According to Wikipedia, a majority of countries – including Australia allow telecommunication service providers to store metadata from 6 months to around two years. Through this data, the mobile carriers are able to determine both – past and the current location of a device, without having physical access.

But did you know, that mobile carriers and apps can also collect other information, based on just your phone number. This includes:

· The location of the device, when you make calls

· The contacts you communicated with along with the date, time, and duration

· The contacts that call you

· The contact that you send a message to along with the location of your device

· The email address you use

· The date and time of the emails you receive or send

· The size of the attachments in these emails and the used file formats

· The IP address of the internet connection

· The location where the phone connects to a cell tower

· The unique identifier number linked with the phone

On the other hand, the phone companies don’t log sensitive information such as:

· The content of the message

· The content of the email

· Phone calls

In the majority of the countries, all the information, described above is used to track criminals. Some authorities also issue a warrant to access the information. However, this can also be used easily to create a persona of the mobile user and track their location and activities quiet accurately.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!

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