Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Privacy Question for Ricochet Lawyers

 

On another thread here on Ricochet, we have been discussing the “Covid notification” software that has been uploaded by government entities onto peoples’ smartphones. Under what authorization is software added to your phone without your permission or knowledge? What statutes allow the Government to make changes to your phone? Does your phone not really belong to you, if the State can make software changes to it that you cannot delete?

I find this extremely alarming. Am I the only one? Am I just paranoid in thinking that the software could potentially identify you to the State if they wanted to come after you for not activating the tracking software?

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  1. Quietpi Member

    Where’s the other thread? I haven’t noticed it. I know of an app that’s available, but I’m . . . NOT INCLINED . . . to download it, eh!

     

    • #1
    • December 4, 2020, at 7:35 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  2. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49

    This is the other thread:

    https://ricochet.com/836490/quietly-fed-up/

    And whether or not you are inclined, the Covid-tracking software is Uploaded without your permission. You have no say in whether it gets added to the Settings in your phone. And since it is in Settings, you have no way of removing it. You can “inactivate” or not turn it on, but you cannot delete it.

    • #2
    • December 4, 2020, at 7:41 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  3. Jules PA Member

    My google play has various state covid apps sitting waiting. Nothing active. Some other thing is on my phone, also not active.

    I keep my phone on a tight lease. All updates manual. Nothing automatic. 

    The biggest threat to me is the google surveillance from maps, calendar and email. 

    • #3
    • December 4, 2020, at 7:50 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  4. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge

    RushBabe49: Under what authorization is software added to your phone

    “your phone”? If you have a smart phone, then all the software and all the data is owned by others. If you didn’t make your own phone OS, your phone is not really your phone.

    • #4
    • December 4, 2020, at 7:51 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  5. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49

    I also inactivated the “Emergency SOS” setting on my iPhone. I use no Google software except YouTube.

    • #5
    • December 4, 2020, at 7:52 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  6. Jules PA Member

    Phones are the new slave master. We do still have some choices but they are dwindling. 

    • #6
    • December 4, 2020, at 7:53 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  7. Captain French Moderator

    The government didn’t add software to your phone, the phone manufacturer did.

    • #7
    • December 4, 2020, at 8:22 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  8. Limestone Cowboy Inactive
    Limestone CowboyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Just a thought for your consideration… I wonder how many people really need smartphones?

    I use an old dumb phone for incoming/outgoing calls and texts. No apps to speak of and it serves me well. And for most of the time it’s turned off. For email while travelling I have a Kindle Fire, which I use at the plentiful WiFi hotspots using a commercial VPN.

    I got my first cell phone around 2001 when phone booths started to disappear, but beyond replacing the phone booth I’ve never felt a need for more advanced features. (And compared to my children’s phones my phone battery life is practically infinite.) So, no government apps, no tracking apps, no malware.

    As I said, just a thought.

     

     

     

    • #8
    • December 4, 2020, at 8:51 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  9. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49

    I had an old flip-phone until my 70th birthday in 2019 when I bought my iPhone. I like having my blog with me all the time, so I can see and respond to comments on my posts. I like having two of my three email accounts with me to respond to. I like being able to read and comment on Ricochet when I am waiting in my doctor’s or dentist’s office. I absolutely love my phone camera, which takes excellent pictures and enables me to take photos of cool stuff when I’m out and about. So, no I don’t need a smartphone, but I sure love having it.

    • #9
    • December 4, 2020, at 9:02 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  10. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49

    Al French of Damascus (View Comment):

    The government didn’t add software to your phone, the phone manufacturer did.

    But it is the Government’s software. In any case, it will remain off forever.

    • #10
    • December 4, 2020, at 9:03 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  11. JustmeinAZ Member

    I have an LG Tracfone for when we travel and to be able to text my daughter when I need to get in touch (she doesn’t read her email anymore, grrrr). I don’t know if it gets app updates but I always refuse anything that asks my permission to install. I use it so little that when I went to the eye doc and had to sit in the car until they called me in I didn’t even know the phone # to give them. Of course they could get it from caller ID.

    They’re going to be in trouble if they try to track me with it – half the time I don’t even know where it is, and the other half it’s not charged.

    • #11
    • December 4, 2020, at 9:28 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  12. The Reticulator Member

    Quietpi (View Comment):

    Where’s the other thread? I haven’t noticed it. I know of an app that’s available, but I’m . . . NOT INCLINED . . . to download it, eh!

     

    You don’t have a choice about downloading the OS software that provides hooks for these apps. I put it off as long as I could on my Android phone. I also have my phone in airplane mode a lot more than I used to. Haven’t been near an airplane since a year and a half ago. 

    • #12
    • December 4, 2020, at 9:46 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  13. Limestone Cowboy Inactive
    Limestone CowboyJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    I have an LG Tracfone for when we travel and to be able to text my daughter when I need to get in touch (she doesn’t read her email anymore, grrrr). I don’t know if it gets app updates but I always refuse anything that asks my permission to install. I use it so little that when I went to the eye doc and had to sit in the car until they called me in I didn’t even know the phone # to give them. Of course they could get it from caller ID.

    They’re going to be in trouble if they try to track me with it – half the time I don’t even know where it is, and the other half it’s not charged.

    You are my soulmate!

    I recently threw a micro-tantrum at my doctors office when I showed up in his waiting room, and the receptionist told me that I was supposed to “call in from the parking garage”. I (loudly) asked her if the practice excluded patients without cellphones. She (mumble mumble mumble) and asked me to take a seat.

    I wish now that I’d said something like “Goodness young lady! I sent a Morse telegraph just moments ago! Show me your Morse receiving apparatus this instant!”

    • #13
    • December 4, 2020, at 10:36 PM PST
    • 9 likes
  14. JustmeinAZ Member

    Limestone Cowboy (View Comment):
    I recently threw a micro-tantrum at my doctors office when I showed up in his waiting room, and the receptionist told me that I was supposed to “call in from the parking garage”. I (loudly) asked her if the practice excluded patients without cellphones. She (mumble mumble mumble) and asked me to take a seat.

    I lied to my dentist and told them I didn’t have a cell. So I just arrived one minute before my appt and knocked on the (locked) door. They let me in, no problem. This waiting in the car until they call you is ridiculous.

    • #14
    • December 4, 2020, at 11:28 PM PST
    • 10 likes
  15. Quietpi Member

    I’m not sure where these things stand elsewhere, but searching through my Android phone this morning, I don’t see any such app or utility. And FWIW I did a factory restore on my phone, oh, three months ago. So the potential for such a feature to be there, if it is to be there without my downloading it, is pretty high. I have seen the apps in my play store. Nooo thank you!

    It’s been maybe three years since I’ve handled a case involving cell phones, so I have to offer that caveat. But these features of the cellular system have been consistent over the, oh, more than ten years when I did have these cases. The cellular provider keeps two types of records of your cell phone usage. The “Call Detail Record” is a list of every call or text your phone sends or receives. It doesn’t record the actual call or text. Some carriers may have captured texts in the past, but to the best of my knowledge, they no longer do so. It’s just too much data. It does capture incoming and outgoing phone numbers or equivalent, call duration, and the towers that were involved in the calls / texts. It’s the towers that give your general location. The carriers’ target is for your phone always to have contact with at least four towers at any one time. The more towers involved, the more reliable the inference, but using tower data, it cannot be more than an inference. Tower range varies too much to address here. Your monthly cellular bill is generated by the CDR. Your carrier maintains CDR’s for various periods of time, from a few months to a year or more.

    The other kind of record is “Per Call Measurement Data.” This is a much more comprehensive list of the towers your cell phone communicates with, whether or not you send or receive calls or texts. This is a massive amount of data, and cell carriers only maintain those records for a few days unless somebody has issued a subpoena for your phone data.

    Your phone does have a GPS, but it does not routinely report your phone’s location. Emergency services can query your phone and get it’s more or less precise location, but they have to have a reason – at lease ethically. LE can ask for it, too, but they also have to have a reason – at least ethically.

    None of that happens if your phone is off. The old saw about bad players being to remotely turn your phone on, when it is truly off, isn’t true. If you really want to be secure from even that, just get a Faraday bag. They’re cheap. Or even cheaper: wrap it in aluminum foil.

    • #15
    • December 5, 2020, at 5:41 AM PST
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  16. Ekosj Member

    My understanding is that the undeletable Covid feature was part of the operating system for the phone. It came as part of a software update. If you have the feature on your phone it is because you voluntarily took the update. At the moment you have to opt in to have it activated. So, technically, it’s not a government installed feature and it’s ‘voluntary’. But, for example, so are most the Chinese social credit apps. They are developed by ‘private’ companies and are voluntarily installed. The social credit scores they monitor and points they add and deduct are privately awarded. The government just serves as a central database. Technically.

    This is a first step down that road.

    • #16
    • December 5, 2020, at 5:52 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  17. OldPhil Coolidge

    Limestone Cowboy (View Comment):

    Just a thought for your consideration… I wonder how many people really need smartphones?

    I use an old dumb phone for incoming/outgoing calls and texts. No apps to speak of and it serves me well. And for most of the time it’s turned off. For email while travelling I have a Kindle Fire, which I use at the plentiful WiFi hotspots using a commercial VPN.

    I got my first cell phone around 2001 when phone booths started to disappear, but beyond replacing the phone booth I’ve never felt a need for more advanced features. (And compared to my children’s phones my phone battery life is practically infinite.) So, no government apps, no tracking apps, no malware.

    As I said, just a thought.

     

    A golf buddy has an old flip phone he’s been using to text us when he’s arranged tee times at our local course. He told us last week Verizon told him they’re no longer “supporting” it, so he has to get a smart phone. 

     

     

    • #17
    • December 5, 2020, at 6:04 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  18. OldPhil Coolidge

    Quietpi (View Comment):
    I’m not sure where these things stand elsewhere, but searching through my Android phone this morning, I don’t see any such app or utility.

    I just did “Settings,” “Google,” and there it was at the top: “COVID-19 Exposure Notifications Off.”

    • #18
    • December 5, 2020, at 6:08 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  19. Stad Coolidge

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    This is the other thread:

    https://ricochet.com/836490/quietly-fed-up/

    And whether or not you are inclined, the Covid-tracking software is Uploaded without your permission. You have no say in whether it gets added to the Settings in your phone. And since it is in Settings, you have no way of removing it. You can “inactivate” or not turn it on, but you cannot delete it.

    If you have an iPhone, you can go to “Settings,” then “General,” then “iPhone Storage.” Scroll down the list of apps and swipe left. If you can delete the app, a “Delete App” button will appear. If not, you’re stuck.

    • #19
    • December 5, 2020, at 6:09 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  20. Jules PA Member

    OldPhil (View Comment):

    He told us last week Verizon told him they’re no longer “supporting” it, so he has to get a smart phone. 

    It’s true. They stop supporting with updates, and then your phone acts crazy, and becomes vulnerable.

    They make them with internal batteries, so you can’t extend the life of the phone, even if you were able to tolerate the lack of updates.

    Some days, I think the NORKs dumping a giant EMP is the only solution for our civilization. 😭

    • #20
    • December 5, 2020, at 6:13 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  21. Quietpi Member

    Ekosj (View Comment):
    My understanding is that the undeletable Covid feature was part of the operating system for the phone. It came as part of a software update. If you have the feature on your phone it is because you voluntarily took the update. At the moment you have to opt in to have it activated.

    That’s true on Apple products. And yes, it requires an opt – in. Edited. Per OldPhil, I just found it on my Android. Most assuredly OFF.

    It’s obvious that my post #15 is really TMI. The point, though, is, app / feature or not, the contact tracers can learn about your movements, in general terms.

    We’re still considering going out of state for Christmas. Right now I’m thinking about finally moving my mobile ham radio to the “new” car, so we have some commo through the mountains. We would take our cell phones, just in case, but leave them off.

    Being a ham is what got me involved in cell phone stuff in the first place. After all, setting aside the computer stuff, cell phones are nothing more than sophisticated full – duplex, two – way radios, working with a massive voting repeater system.

    • #21
    • December 5, 2020, at 6:17 AM PST
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  22. The Reticulator Member

    Quietpi (View Comment):
    I’m not sure where these things stand elsewhere, but searching through my Android phone this morning, I don’t see any such app or utility. And FWIW I did a factory restore on my phone, oh, three months ago. So the potential for such a feature to be there, if it is to be there without my downloading it, is pretty high. I have seen the apps in my play store. Nooo thank you!

    I haven’t heard of an app being downloaded without your sayso. It’s just that the OS has been modified so these apps will work. I don’t know the details or why changes were necessary for them to work. 

    • #22
    • December 5, 2020, at 6:40 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  23. Front Seat Cat Member

    Limestone Cowboy (View Comment):

    Just a thought for your consideration… I wonder how many people really need smartphones?

    I use an old dumb phone for incoming/outgoing calls and texts. No apps to speak of and it serves me well. And for most of the time it’s turned off. For email while travelling I have a Kindle Fire, which I use at the plentiful WiFi hotspots using a commercial VPN.

    I got my first cell phone around 2001 when phone booths started to disappear, but beyond replacing the phone booth I’ve never felt a need for more advanced features. (And compared to my children’s phones my phone battery life is practically infinite.) So, no government apps, no tracking apps, no malware.

    As I said, just a thought.

     

     

     

    You better review the upcoming Great Reset where transactions including banking and the elimination of cash (all digitized) will be coming in the near future – as well as a health tracking app (under the guise of COVID) that unless you are vaccinated, you may be limited in where and how you travel or work………….

    • #23
    • December 6, 2020, at 5:56 AM PST
    • Like
  24. Jules PA Member

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):
    You better review the upcoming Great Reset where transactions including banking and the elimination of cash (all digitized) will be coming in the near future – as well as a health tracking app (under the guise of COVID) that unless you are vaccinated, you may be limited in where and how you travel or work………….

    Horrifying…

    • #24
    • December 6, 2020, at 7:44 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  25. Hammer, The Member

    Al French of Damascus (View Comment):

    The government didn’t add software to your phone, the phone manufacturer did.

    Yes. There is a lot of stuff that both android and ios add to their phones, which you cannot delete. But you can deactivate most of this stuff, which I do.

    • #25
    • December 6, 2020, at 11:03 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  26. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49

    I even turned off the “emergency SOS” on my phone. And I most assuredly do not use any of the “health” apps on it. Nor any of the “home” ones either. The idea of the “smart home” fills me with dread. I don’t want my home or appliances connected to the Internet. This means no “Ring” doorbell or “Nest” thermostat, or Amazon “Echo” smart speaker-they are potentially dangerous. Just think how easy it would be for the government, run by DemocRats, to target your home if they decided to follow through on their threats to destroy all Trump voters.

    • #26
    • December 6, 2020, at 12:34 PM PST
    • 6 likes
  27. Skyler Coolidge

    Limestone Cowboy (View Comment):
    And for most of the time it’s turned off.

    For a very long time third parties have been able to turn on phones remotely, not just smartphones but all phones, and make them appear to still be turned off. Unless the battery is removable you cannot know if the phone is operating.

    Spies have been exploiting this capability for twenty years or more. 

    • #27
    • December 7, 2020, at 12:46 AM PST
    • Like
  28. Flicker Coolidge

    And of course there’s this.

    This New Technology Will Dangerously Expand Government Spying On Citizens

    Your smartphone in effect becomes a government listening device that detects and accesses all nearby wireless or bluetooth devices, or anything that has a MAC address for that matter…

    • #28
    • December 7, 2020, at 1:15 AM PST
    • Like
  29. The Reticulator Member

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Limestone Cowboy (View Comment):
    And for most of the time it’s turned off.

    For a very long time third parties have been able to turn on phones remotely, not just smartphones but all phones, and make them appear to still be turned off. Unless the battery is removable you cannot know if the phone is operating.

    Spies have been exploiting this capability for twenty years or more.

    In real life or the funny pages? 

    • #29
    • December 7, 2020, at 5:50 AM PST
    • Like
  30. Skyler Coolidge

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Limestone Cowboy (View Comment):
    And for most of the time it’s turned off.

    For a very long time third parties have been able to turn on phones remotely, not just smartphones but all phones, and make them appear to still be turned off. Unless the battery is removable you cannot know if the phone is operating.

    Spies have been exploiting this capability for twenty years or more.

    In real life or the funny pages?

    Very much real life. 

    • #30
    • December 7, 2020, at 5:54 AM PST
    • Like