via Todd Richmond
Apologies to Roger Miller, but a piece in Politico about DHS buying commercial phone location data, presumably to track people. The ACLU sued DHS to get release of documents that highlight the relationship between government agencies (particularly ICE and CBP) and two commercial companies, Babel Street and Venntel. These private entities are in the advertising data business, and cell phone location data is one of the key elements. While the data is anonymized, the companies know that isn’t much of a barrier:
Another marketing brochure told CBP that “all users opt-in to location data collection,” and that no personal data was ever collected. But in another email between Venntel and ICE, the data broker noted, “there are derived means by which identifiers and pertinent location can be assembled,” meaning that this data could easily be linked to identify people despite not having any personal data tied to it.
And ironically, while CPB was using the purchased location data, they were advising their employees on how to prevent adtech tracking on their own mobile devices.
The more data that gets collected, the easier it will be to connect the dots. Just a question of who will be doing the connecting…