Several cellphone providers have been tracking their users’ Internet activities by adding “supercookies” to cellphone transmissions. The providers say that it’s just for normal business purposes, but the truth is that the trove of data they’re amassing is of enormous value to law enforcement in their struggle to stay ahead of the bad guys.
Because of the negative publicity that followed the disclosure of this cellphone tracking, as well as pressure from self-appointed Internet watchdogs like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, AT&T has caved and is no longer collecting the data.
The good news is that the Department of Justice has stepped into the breach. The DOJ now has a fleet of airplanes that act as decoy cell towers. Say you use Verizon, and the DOJ wants to see what you’re up to — they have their planes send out the same signals that real Verizon towers use, so that your phone connects to their network instead of Verizon’s. That way, the government can capture everything you do on your phone.
As for privacy, the government assures us that, if you haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.