Data Stream Taps By NSA
In 2005, the New York Times reported that the NSA had engaged in domestic digital surveillance without U.S. court approval. 1 month later, in January 2006, former AT&T technician Mark Klein provided documents to the Electronic Frontier Foundation confirming that the NSA installed surveillance equipment at an Internet hub in San Francisco.
Jennifer Granick states “What people don’t know and should is that there is a dragnet sucking up all their communications so the government can review them. AT&T is still routing all of its data traffic through the NSA.” In 2006 and also 2008, the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed suit against AT&T and the federal government for warrantless wiretapping. However, in July 2008, Congress passed a bill granting retroactive immunity to telecoms for their participation in the NSA’s wiretaps.
Similar to how Google pays attention to individual’s search habits in order to make search results more relevant to each user, marketers look to build profiles based on your online habits in order to advertise and sell location-based services.
Cell phone carriers maintain CPNI (Customer Proprietary Network Information). A CPNI can contain details about rate plans, ingoing/outgoing calls and even your location. Though, by law, carriers can’t sell CPNI without user permission, how they obtain this information can prove to be questionable. Usually carriers will contact the user via email or letter and provide the opportunity for the user to ‘opt out’ of this option. However, if a response isn’t given, the carrier is free to sell your CPNI to whomever they wish.
Not that carriers would sell CPNI to just ANYONE. However, this information could be sold to marketers of restaurants, stores and other businesses near your location. An example of a scenario such as this would be when you walk by a specific store and you receive a text message or an email offering you a discount at that store if you go back and shop there right then. The best way to handle this is to tell your carrier not to share your CPNI.