Where does the data of Facebook and other "free" services go? It is well known that companies sell mobile location data. The following was revealed in recent days in the US: This information was sold not only to advertisers but also to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a government agency known for keeping immigrant children in cages.
According to a Wall Street Journal article, ICE and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in general buy and use location information from "millions" of cell phones to track down and apprehend illegal immigrants from Mexico.
This move seems to be legal, but like he says the WSJ, "The use of this data by the federal government for law enforcement purposes has not been reported before."
The experts told the newspaper that it was one of the "biggest concerns about massive data exploitation by the US authorities".
Venntel, a data-driven company in recent years at DHS, operated by ICE, is affiliated with mobile advertising company Gravy Analytics. Public records show that Venntel has also signed a contract with DEA, the US Drug Enforcement Administration.
"This is a violation of immigrant rights and data privacy rights," said Adam Schwartz of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"Our society has failed to protect consumers from companies that collect and sell personal information, along with sensitive location data. "Now, according to information, the federal government has bought access to this data and is using it to locate and deport immigrants."
He added: "This is another reason why we need strong laws to protect the privacy of consumers."
Note that although the data does not include personally identifiable information, such as a username, but an anonymous alphanumeric identifier, there is a problem. A New York Times survey of this type of data late last year found that it is quite easy to figure out who is on a site.
If a person, for example, is in a certain location at night and at another 8 o'clock in the morning, we can understand where his house is and where he works. Using this two pieces of information, and linking them to others circulating on the Internet, we can understand who we are talking about.
"Although they say the data is anonymous, analyzing different data sets gives us a very detailed picture of who you are, better than you know yourself." he says in Recode, Dragana Kaurin, a researcher at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University.
"These data can be used to distinguish people by race, gender, nationality, sexual orientation or bourgeois-social class."
And as the title suggests, free software like weather or games and Facebook on your phone is not free.
Data from "free" services, antivirus software, weather applications etc, are circulating on the internet and there are many buyers. In other words, "free" software has a significant cost to your privacy, and the terms are deeply embedded in privacy policies we've never read.
In addition, now we should not only worry about Facebook and ads but also about the authorities.