The Times Privacy Project obtained a dataset
with more than 50 billion location pings from the phones of more than
12 million people in this country. It was a random sample from 2016 and
2017, but it took only minutes — with assistance from publicly available
information — for us to deanonymize location data and track the
whereabouts of President Trump.
a senior Defense Department official told Times Opinion, even the Pentagon has told employees to expect that their privacy is compromised:
“We want our people to understand: They should make no assumptions about anonymity. You are not anonymous on this planet at this point in our existence. Everyone is trackable, traceable, discoverable to some degree.”
We were able to track smartphones in nearly every major government building and facility in Washington. We could follow them back to homes and, ultimately, their owners’ true identities. Even a prominent senator’s national security adviser — someone for whom privacy and security are core to their every working day — was identified and tracked in the data.
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