NYT Brags About Spying On Trump and Others With Phone Tracking

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On Thursday, the New York Times released their “Privacy Project” which revealed how they gained access to the cell phone tracking data of millions of Americans.

The Times explained that their data tracking went beyond just ordinary Americans as they explained that they tracked the movements of high profile people including President Donald Trump.

The original report which was titled “Twelve Million Phones, One Dataset, Zero Privacy,” states that if you saw what they could see, “you might never use your phone the same way again.”

“The data was provided to Times Opinion by sources who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to share it and could face severe penalties for doing so,” the Times says. “The sources of the information said they had grown alarmed about how it might be abused and urgently wanted to inform the public and lawmakers.”

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The data is “by far the largest and most sensitive ever to be reviewed by journalists,” according to the Times, containing “more than 50 billion location pings from the phones of more than 12 million Americans as they moved through several major cities, including Washington, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles.”

Researchers at the New York Times went as far to track data of famous people. “One search turned up more than a dozen people visiting the Playboy Mansion, some overnight,” they reported. “Without much effort we spotted visitors to the estates of Johnny Depp, Tiger Woods and Arnold Schwarzenegger, connecting the devices’ owners to the residences indefinitely.” 

Check out what else the outlet had to say:

With the help of publicly available information, like home addresses, we easily identified and then tracked scores of notables. We followed military officials with security clearances as they drove home at night. We tracked law enforcement officers as they took their kids to school. We watched high-powered lawyers (and their guests) as they traveled from private jets to vacation properties. We did not name any of the people we identified without their permission.

The data set is large enough that it surely points to scandal and crime but our purpose wasn’t to dig up dirt. We wanted to document the risk of underregulated surveillance. Watching dots move across a map sometimes revealed hints of faltering marriages, evidence of drug addiction, records of visits to psychological facilities.

In another report titled “How to Track President Trump,” the New York Times shows how “easy” it is to find out where the President is.

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They continue:

The device’s owner was easy to trace, revealing the outline of the person’s work and life. The same phone pinged a dozen times at the nearby Secret Service field office and events with elected officials. From computer screens more than 1,000 miles away, we could watch the person travel from exclusive areas at Palm Beach International Airport to Mar-a-Lago.

The meticulous movements — down to a few feet — of the president’s entourage were recorded by a smartphone we believe belonged to a Secret Service agent, whose home was also clearly identifiable in the data. Connecting the home to public deeds revealed the person’s name, along with the name of the person’s spouse, exposing even more details about both families. We could also see other stops this person made, apparently more connected with his private life than his public duties. The Secret Service declined to comment on our findings or describe its policies regarding location data.

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