⚠️ PSA: To all German users, starting from tomorrow (2020-03-22), Telekom and Telefonica providers will hand over your phone’s movement data to the government and other authorities. This is happening behind our backs using the COVID-19 situation as a cover-up! Telekom has already transferred 5GB of movement data to a Government institute (RKI) on Tuesday.
Click on the following link to start the opt-out process if you’re a customer of Telekom:
Telekom claims to anonymize mobile data, which is then passed on to the Telekom subsidiary Motionlogic GmbH in aggregate form. They are also grabbing data related to the age group (by 10 year increments), gender and the first 4 digits of your postcode. After inputting your details, you will receive a 4-digit code via SMS.
Click on the following link to start the opt-out process if you’re a customer of Telefonica:
Telefonica is also claiming the same as Telekom, as in they anonymize the data and will only use it for analysis afterwards. The procedure is the same as above, you enter your details and receive a one-time password via SMS.
If you’re a Vodafone user, you probably need to go into the app 📱 and disable everything. They have about 20 telemetry functions. Web login doesn’t work with Vodafone prepaid SIMs, unless you manually request a password for it from their customer service.
Make sure to opt-out NOW before this goes into effect tomorrow!
— Austria —
Same phenomenon is also happening right now in Austria. The government currently receives – „anonymously“ – the movement data of its customers from the domestic mobile operator A1. A1 claims its approach is GDPR-compliant. A1 also emphasized that the data could not be used to draw any conclusions about the individual cell phone user and that each cell phone is assigned a number that is automatically generated randomly for tracking. All these numbers are freshly assigned every 24 hours.
— Italy —
Italy, the European country hit worst by COVID-19 until now, has also requested aggregated data from the providers to track the movement of people, in order to try and contain the spread of the virus. The vice president of the region of Lombardy said more than 40% of people have moved further than 200-300 metres from their houses, based on data provided by the telecom providers.
— Other countries —
Following the grave situation of COVID-19, other countries are also expected to take the same steps related to the aggregation of customer movement data.
⛔️ While public health might be more important than movement tracking in the current situation, this can set dangerous precedent and open the way for these institutions to normalize similar behaviour and process these data points in the future for malicious purposes.
🤔 What do you as a citizen think? Do you trust these institutions to be benevolent with the data/power they possess?