Move over, FSA. The Centers for Disease Control is our latest Big Brother who tracks cell phone users. Documents reveal that the CDC spent $420,000 on one-year’s access to location data “harvested from tens of millions of phones” in the U.S. during the COVID lockdown.
Here are a few examples of how they used the location data to:
- analyze compliance with curfews
- track the habits of people visiting Kk-12 schools
- monitor how effective their COVID-19 policies were in the Navajo Nation
Also, the CDC wants all that data to use it for “more general CDC purposes.”
The data is supposed to be anonymous. But what it shows—where a person lives, works, and goes—has repeatedly raised privacy advocates’ concerns. That data can be “deanonymized” and used to track specific people.
One cybersecurity researcher said that the CDC “seems to have purposefully created an open-ended list of use cases.” Those cases included neighbor-to-neighbor visits…and also a variety of analysis with the data specifically focused on ‘violence.’”
The open-endedness of how the CDC intends to use location tracking of Americans extends alarmingly beyond COVID-19 pandemic control. For example, item 19 on the CDC’s use list is to leverage the data for research of “points of interest for physical activity and chronic disease prevention such as visits to parks, gyms, or weight management businesses.”
So, the next time you send a text message over your cell phone, remember that you are joining millions of Americans being tracked, watched, and marked for the next round of government encroachment on your freedom.