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Is your phone watching you?

Your telco is in a position to know everything about you. But does that mean we should be afraid?
Written by Phil Dobbie, Contributor on

Podcast

Your mobile phone is capable of creating a lot of information. The question is: who has access to that information, and what are they doing with it?

In Australia, Telstra was caught out sending data to Canadian internet filter company Netsweeper. We talked to spokesperson Nicole McKechnie, who said that the carrier did everything possible to remove personal identifiers from the data. Telstra has now stopped the practice, based on the public reaction.

We do put a lot of trust in our telcos, given they know so much about us. How much? Well, German politician Malte Spitz explained how he used records obtained from Deutsche Telecom to show his whereabouts, with alarming accuracy, for a three-month period.

Telcos are probably less of a threat to our privacy, though, than the applications that sit on our phones. We give them permissions with scant regard for their terms and conditions. And Trevor Eckhart claimed on YouTube recently that some devices have been sending an alarming amount of information to US data firm CarrierIQ.

But what do they want with all of this information? ZDNet Australia blogger stilgherrian has a theory that some companies are gathering the data, and are yet to figure out what they'll do with it. If they get enough intelligence together, a business model is bound to pop out from somewhere.

Are you worried about what your mobile phone says about you? Call the Twisted Wire feedback line and give us your views (+61) 2 9304 5198.

Running time: 29 minutes, 38 seconds

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