The controversy about the geolocation of your mobile phone and your privacy continues to speak. A few months ago, from Clipset we were advised that your Android phone will snitch to Google where you are, even without your permission. Recently, a new research published in The Conversation affects something equally as serious: your smartphone may betray where you are, even if you have told not to do so.
If a few weeks were our own military authorities americans that were surprised because the app Strava had revealed locations of secret military bases, a new research, made by experts of the Northeastern University (USA), with funding from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense of the United States, shows something even more troubling, that a mobile can ‘chivar’ your location even if you have disabled the option of tracking by geolocation.
This vulnerability has its origin in the wide range of sensors which include the current smartphones. Sensors that are used by the apps, especially, to give away your position.
Almost all users think that disabling the geolocation of the mobile phone resolves the problem, but this new research warns that it is not so and that the apps can avoid or circumvent these restrictions. Currently, many smartphones may include an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a magnetometer, a barometer, up to four microphones, one or two cameras, a thermometer, a pedometer, a light sensor and a humidity sensor.
Many apps that we install access without problems for the majority of these sensors without the user’s permission. The researchers were able to develop an application able to determine what letters marked a mobile user in the on-screen keyboard, without reading the data from the keyboard. To achieve this, was only to merge information from the gyroscope and the microphone of the phone.
To respond to the doubt of the location, based on the compass of the smartphone, which also makes use of the gyroscope and the accelerometer. Through the measurement of a sequence of turns and chaining them as the person progressed, they were able to draw a map of their movements.
To do this, they provided an algorithm with possible routes held in various cities for people on foot and in car to see if they matched with the real paths on the basis of the sensors of the mobile are studied in real life. The real paths that were agreed more than half of the times with the virtual developed by the algorithm carried out on the basis of the information of the sensors and maps. An algorithm that had a possibility of improvement and, consequently, precision.
The researchers wonder now if on the basis of this finding, a mobile phone could also end up revealing other data about us as the age, the sex or your health.