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''Everybody is waking up to the realization that privacy is central - central to human dignity and central to democracy,'' said Kade Crockford, director of the Technology for Liberty Program at the American Civil Union of Massachusetts.

How much change might occur is unclear. The tech giants that control how people's data is collected - the same ones that have professed for years in marketing campaigns they care about privacy - have not made plans to substantially change the way they gather information.

Google said this month that it would delete entries to location data when people visited sensitive places. But it declined to say whether detailed geodata - like GPS coordinates and routing information - would also be purged.

Some location data analytics companies, including Foursquare, recently announced that they were restricting the use, sharing and sale of data on consumers' visits to sensitive locations like reproductive health clinics. But law enforcement agencies with warrants may still obtain such location records.

The phone carriers that operate the backbone of the wireless internet for smartphones have been silent about plans to modify data policies after the reversal of Roe v. Wade.

AT&T, T-Mobile and CTIA, a trade group that represents the carriers, declined to comment, and Frank Boulben, Verizon's chief revenue officer, said the company had nothing new to announce.

For now those seeking to obscure their digital tracks have limited options, though several tools can be employed to combat surveillance, including virtual private networks, encrypted messaging apps, private web browsers and burner email accounts, civil liberties groups and privacy experts said.


What It Does : A VPN creates a virtual tunnel that shields browsing information from an Internet service provider. The device of someone who uses VPN software connects to a VPN provider's servers.

All that person's web traffic passes through the VPN-provider's internet connection. So if the internet provider is trying to listen in on the web traffic while the user browses, the provider will see only the VPN server's internet address connected to the VPN service.

WHAT IT DOESN'T DO : A VPN does not conceal a device's location from a cellular network. That's because a device has to register to a nearby cell tower before connecting to the VPN, which would reveal the device location to the phone carrier, Mr. Eren said.


What It Does : When a message is encrypted through a service like Apple's iMessage, Meta's WhatsApp or Signal, it is scrambled when sent so that it becomes indecipherable to anyone but its intended recipient, and it remains so when it passes through the app's server and reaches the recipient.

What It Doesn't Do : Encryption makes it harder, but not impossible, for law enforcement agencies to get access to the content of messages. Agencies can, for example, use court orders to seek contents inside Apple iMessages and requesting access to iPhone users' data backed up to iCloud.

But Signal, an app funded by donations and grants, retains minimal data on its users, which makes it a must- have app in a toolbox to counter surveillance, researchers said.


What It Does : People can set up anonymous email addresses with services like ProtonMail, a free encrypted email service, to try to be unidentifiable.

What It Doesn't Do : Prosecutors with court orders may compel email services to provide personal data, like a user's IP address, the string of digits associated with a device, which could be used to identify the person.


There is no foolproof way to escape digital surveillance, and each piece of tech that's used becomes a new vector that law enforcement agencies can use to seek data.

There are more extreme techniques for hindering snooping - but those are methods for spies and security professionals, not everyday people.

So leaving tech at home wouldn't be going overboard, security researchers said. It's important, they said, that a phone stays powered on to remain connected to a nearby cell tower recording its location.

That would cover a digital trail by creating the illusion that a person never left home.

The Honour and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Technology, Privacy, Policy and The World, continues. The World Students Society thanks authors Natasha Singer and Brian X Chen.

With respectful dedication to the Tech Giants, Consumers, Leaders, and then Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society - for every subject in the world : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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