Is Your Cell Phone Spying On You?

Is your cell phone spying on you? Even if it is, does it really matter? You’re no criminal, right? Should you protect yourself in any case? In this guest post, Lois Cadwallader answers all these questions and more and shares 15 ways you can protect yourself from this personal intrusion:

Have you ever had the feeling that “someone is listening?” Well, they are. And it’s more than just your cell phone. Most newer electronic devices are seeded with sensors.

What’s interesting, is the smartphone has probably become the most important personal identifier and locator.
Think about it. What do most people have with them always? Their phones.

How do smartphones provide surveillance? They:

  • Listen
  • Locate
  • Log personal data

woman looking at her phone wondering if it's spying on herThey Listen

I recently had my own experience with this. I carry my phone on airplane mode with Bluetooth and WiFi off to safeguard against exposure to electromagnetic radiation. (Find more information on Bluetooth radiation dangers here.)

I had turned my phone back on to check for messages and saw a friend zipping along on a bike path. “Diane Day! Diane Day,” I called out loudly. Well, she was riding so fast that she didn’t hear me. But someone else did.

Within a few hours, I had a personal message from her on Facebook … but it was suspicious. It didn’t sound like her. Sure enough, it was a hacker. Coincidental? Maybe. But the timing is just too close. I can’t help but wonder if my phone picked up her name, associated her with my Facebook friend, and someone went phishing.

I’d be interested in hearing your stories, please share in the comment section below.

It’s not just our smartphones.

Let’s take home managers, or smart speakers. Apple and Google admit that Alexa and Siri spy on you. Employees listen in on conversations, but only to monitor and improve the system, so they say. Industry claims the sampling is very small, and that they have in place strict anti-abuse regulations. [1,2,3]

And even more disturbing, the very systems we use to protect our homes may be the instruments of surveillance and invasive contact. An alarming report just surfaced about a hacker speaking to a young girl through the smart speaker in her bedroom. This video is downright creepy.

You can also check out this article on how to create a low-EMF bedroom.

They Locate

Even when the GPS is turned off, your location can still be established using cell tower triangulation. Although this is not exactly “pin-pointing” it can get pretty close. This could be used for good or bad, depending on who wants to know your whereabouts. [4]

man holding phone to connect

They Log Personal Data

Your smartphone and other smart devices collect, analyze, and record thousands of interactions every day. It is no secret that this information is available to 3rd party advertisers. But it’s for “your benefit” – It’s like having a “personal shopper” hunt out the best deals for you.

Google says they don’t “sell” your personal information. They just place advertisements in your purview, based on your trends and search history. [5]

And Apple boasts, “What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.” However, a NY Post investigator begs to differ.

He discovered that he was being “tracked,” by 3rd parties and that personal information had been shared, contrary to the published privacy policy. [6]

Are You OK With Massive Data Collection And Retention?

What About Hackers?

In the article, “Smart Homes Might be Getting too Smart. Start Worrying,” the author makes the stunning point that the danger is not just that hackers could know when you are on vacation and hack your smart lock and break into your home. That’s bad enough. But also there is the broader danger that hackers could commandeer hundreds of thousands of smartphones and smart devices to request access to a bank, social media platform, or government agency, thus forcing a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. [7]

This is actually what happened in the 2016 Mirai botnet that crashed the web. [8]

Isn’t Being Connected A Good Thing?

In the book, Owned: Property, Privacy and the New Digital Serfdom, by Joshua A. T. Fairfield, 2017, the author discusses what it means that our environment is seeded with more sensors than ever before. [9]

Our dishwashers, smart televisions, internet-enabled home thermostats, smart meters, Fitbits and smartphones constantly gather information about us and our environment.

Objects of the Internet Of Things

Who owns that information? You might be surprised at the answer.

When you purchase a smartphone or any smart device you relinquish ownership of your personal information. Industry owns your personal information. It is buried in hard-to-read, small-font terms-of-service agreements.

5G will only make it worse, as the sensors and transmitters are brought closer and closer, right into our neighborhoods, connecting all of the smart gadgets in the smart homes. This is not just “real time” listening. There is huge data collection, analysis, and retention by government and industry. [10,11]

Why? You guessed it. There is nothing new under the sun.

Money and power, money and power, money and power.

Money, Money, Money

Technology is a trillion dollar business. Industry and government are riding high on the enormous profits. Smartphone ownership is fast becoming a “right” and a “necessity” for life. Ask any person under 50 years old, “What’s the one thing you cannot and will not go without?” The answer is usually, “My phone.”

man riding on money

So, we now have a product with almost 100% dependence for both business and personal use. And the consumer is more than happy to pay for the latest smartphone upgrade.

American companies alone are estimated to have spent over $19 billion in 2018 acquiring and analyzing consumer data, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. [12,13]

And Then There’s Power.

person looking at the money at the center of the world

They would need an Infra-structure in place for surveillance and compliance assurance.

  • They would need to control technology in order to control information.
  • They would need to control financial transactions.
  • They would need to control the military.
  • Food, prescriptions, electricity, fuel, etc., all controlled by technology.
  • They would want to keep the population dependent (if not addicted) to the services under their control.

In short, they would need surveillance, surveillance, surveillance.

Where could this possibly be going? Dr. Jeremy Naydler, author and philosopher writes about the disturbing scenario of the global electronic intelligence in, “5G – The Big Picture.” [14]

And check out this edgy film, 5G APOCALYPSE – THE EXTINCTION EVENT. It is a full-length documentary by Sacha Stone exposing the 5G existential threat to humanity. OK, it might be a little hyperbolic. But if even half of this is true, yikes!

The power of artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies will be enormous. Vladimir Putin said, those in possession of artificial intelligence will rule the world. The processing speed and knowledge base of artificial intelligence will be so great, it will seem all-knowing to most. [15]

And President Trump states in the National Security Report, “We will improve America’s digital infrastructure by deploying a secure 5G Internet capability nationwide. These improvements will increase national competitiveness, benefit the environment and improve our quality of life.” [16]

Linked to a global network of cameras and audio devices, made of non-biological materials, artificial intelligence will appear to be omnipresent, omnipotent, and immortal. Those acquainted with biblical prophecy speculate that AI will be the platform for the one-world dictator. [17]

There’s a race for technological domination because that equals power. And surveillance is a necessary part of it.

But I’m Not A Criminal

The thinking goes something like this, “If I’m not engaged in any criminal behaviors, I shouldn’t mind if I’m monitored. Surveillance keeps us all safer from crime and terrorism.”

To be fair, there are some benefits to this “tracking” involving safety, identifying medical emergencies, solving crimes, finding missing persons, etc.

So, why should you care? One word. China.

Spy coming out our phones

China is using smart phones and other smart devices to massively spy on its citizens. They assign a “Social Credit Score” to base reward and punishment. [18,19,20,21]

It could never happen here.” Famous last words.

Silicon Valley is already building a Chinese-style social credit system. [22]
And one could argue that in the US there is already an un-written social credit system solidly in place, just waiting for the right people to implement its rewards and punishments.

It all sounds a little far-fetched; conspiratorial. But still, it should give reason for pause and reflection. How much of our privacy are we willing to relinquish for the sake of convenience? What are we exchanging for ultra-connectivity? And is it worth it?

Is There Anything We Can Do?

Thankfully, yes.

Here are 15 steps you can take to reduce the spy-factor in your life.

1 – Unplug

Unplug, turn off, disconnect as much as possible.

A human pulling a plug connected to a brain

2 – Be Aware Of Your Appliances

Seek out older models of appliances that do not have a WiFi feature or dis-arm the WiFi component of new appliances. This is difficult, but possible with a little bit of research. (Still confused about the dangers of WiFi? Read this article on why WiFi is not safe.)

3 – Keep Airplane Mode On And WiFi And Bluetooth Off

If you are “EMF savvy,” you know that other than completely powering off, the only safe way to carry a cell phone on your body is to:

  • Turn Airplane mode ON
  • Turn Bluetooth and WiFi OFF

This shuts down all electromagnetic energy. And of course, shuts down all transmission and reception. Thus, you are un-connected. So, you must check for messages periodically.

You can still use other features, like calendar and camera. And you can still access downloaded items.

But beware! Some of the newer phones (and tablets) have an automatic re-connect feature. So, you must double check to ensure that Airplane mode is ON and Bluetooth and WiFi remain OFF when your phone or tablet is close to you. These devices “want” to be connected and are programmed to do so. Learn about cell phone radiation protection here.

A “Faraday Bag” is another option for carrying your phone.

4 – Get A Meter

What about the sneaky factor? Since most phones have a sealed battery that can no longer be removed, one cannot really know if it is truly “off.” The only way to be assured that there is no beacon signal emitting from your phone or appliances is to meter.

You can do that yourself quite easily with the right kind of meter.

And as we progress deeper and deeper into the mesh of electronic surveillance, now might be a good time to acquire a meter.

5 – Use A Land-line

Many of my friends no longer have a wired telephone line. We still keep ours. I don’t know how much longer they will even be available. But, I recommend if you have a land-line, keep it. If you do not have one, inquire as to whether or not you can install one.
Important – This should be completely wired with no additional wireless hand set.

You might be Interested in Lloyd’s extensive article on Cordless phone dangers.

6 – Resist The Home Manager / Smart Speakers

They are fun…convenient. They are all the “new rage” in technology. But come on’ – do we reeeeeally need them? And do we really want them listening, locating, logging?
I say, no!

7 – Be Mindful

Smart devices, appliances, electronic key fobs, and even toys are always listening. And sometimes even recording.

8 – Use Technology Against Technology

There are a few products that claim to block techno-spies. I have not checked them out yet. Worth a look.
Use webcam and microphone blockers and anti-malware software. When browsing the internet, go “incognito.”

9 – Check Privacy Options If You Use Social Media

Use social media with caution. Be sure you are aware of and use privacy options. You need to check these periodically, as they do change.

You can take it a step further and have your social media presence scrubbed. While you can delete your Facebook account relatively easily, getting these firms to remove your information is time-consuming, complicated, and sometimes impossible. In fact, the process is so burdensome that you may want to consider paying a service to do it on your behalf.

10 – Hardwire As Much As Possible

Hardwire your computer, mouse, printer, etc.
Wired is more secure than wireless as there is less chance of someone intercepting.

11 – Install Anti-Virus Systems On All Wireless Devices

Although not 100% fail-proof, they do make it difficult for hackers to intrude into your technology devices.

12 – Go To Advanced Security And Privacy Solutions

There are ways to disable the “listening” function of your smartphone and smart devices. There are also ways to delete your recorded information. Takes some research. I have not done this yet. I hear that it is difficult, but doable. My next project.

13 – Simplify

While cutting-edge technology can be exhilarating, there is something attractive about slow and simple living. Spend more time in the wilderness where there are no sensors. There is something restorative about the natural world and a small footprint.

14 – Take A detailed Audit Of Every Possible Source Of Surveillance In Your Home.

For a detailed list of “smart” devices that could possibly be used for surveillance, see:
Cadwallader, Bill, “EXPOSED: The Electronic Sickening of America and How to Protect Yourself—Includes the Dangers of 5G and Smart Devices,” Stop Dirty Electricity, Las Vegas, NV 2018

Bill shares over 30 pages of up-to-date information from his annual visit to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. You may be surprised how many things in your environment have turned “smart” and could be used as a surveillance tool, even when turned off.

15 – Some Would Say Completely Eliminate Technology

This is difficult. And I admire the purists. I really do. But to run a business in the modern world, I have to use a pc and smart phone. If you are completely retired and don’t need electronics, it might be doable. You also might be able to move to a rural area. That would be ideal.

We may not be able to avoid surveillance entirely. But we can reduce the spy factor by taking some simple steps. Do what you can do today.

Many thanks to Lois Cadwallader for this guest post.

Lois Cadwallader EMF writerAuthor bio: Lois Cadwallader, MA, has been a professional educator all her life. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and enjoys volunteering in after-school clubs, hiking and cycling. She is the co-author of Exposed: The Electronic Sickening of America and How to Protect Yourself.

Sources and Bibliography

1. Amazon Admits Employees Listen to Alexa Conversations. www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/amazon-alexa-echo-listening-spy-security-a8865056.html
2. Google and Amazon really DO want to spy on you: Patent reveals future versions of their voice assistants will record your conversations to sell you products By Tim Collins, Dec. 15, 2017. www.consumerwatchdog.org/privacy-technology/google-and-amazon-really-do-want-spy-you-patent-reveals-future-versions-their
3. No secrets at home anymore now Amazon’s Alexa is spying on us, Geoffrey A Fowler, May 07 2019 www.stuff.co.nz/business/world/112528222/no-secrets-at-home-anymore-now-amazons-alexa-is-spying-on-us
4. Accurate Location Accurate Location Detection by Minh Tran, DMD transition.fcc.gov/pshs/911/Apps%20Wrkshp%202015/911_Help_SMS_WhitePaper0515.pdf
5. Does Google sell your personal data? JERRY HILDENBRAND, Jan 12, 2018 www.androidcentral.com/does-google-sell-your-data
6. It’s the middle of the night. Do you know who your iPhone is talking to? By Geoffrey A. Fowler, Technology Columnist, May 28, 2019 www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/05/28/its-middle-night-do-you-know-who-your-iphone-is-talking/
7. Smart homes might be getting too smart. Start worrying. Commentary: When better features mean worse ethics, should we change what we buy? By David Priest, October 31, 2019 www.cnet.com/news/smart-homes-might-be-getting-too-smart-start-worrying/
8. The Mirai botnet explained: How teen scammers and CCTV cameras almost brought down the internet by Josh Fruhlinger March 9, 2018 www.csoonline.com/article/3258748/the-mirai-botnet-explained-how-teen-scammers-and-cctv-cameras-almost-brought-down-the-internet.html
9. Owned: Property, Privacy and the New Digital Serfdom, by Joshua A. T. Fairfield, 2017 New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2017.
10. Who Owns Americans’ Personal Information and What Is It Worth? Robert Shapiro and Siddhartha Aneja, March 8, 2019 assets.futuremajority.org/uploads/report-for-future-majority-on-the-value-of-people-s-personal-data-shapiro-aneja-march-8-2019.pdf
11. When smart devices watch you, what do they do with the data? By Kim Komando USA TODAY, June 20, 2019 www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/2019/06/20/what-do-smart-devices-do-data-they-collect-you/1483051001/
12. U.S. Firms to Spend Nearly $19.2 Billion on Third-Party Audience Data & Data-Use Solutions in 2018, Up 17.5% From 2017 Dec. 05, 2018, IBA (Interactive Advertising Bureau) Retrieved from www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181205005139/en/U.S.-Firms-Spend-19.2-Billion-Third-Party-Audience
13. Tech spending will near $4 trillion this year. Here’s where all the money is going and why by Eric Rosenbaum April 8, 2019 www.cnbc.com/2019/04/08/4-trillion-in-tech-spending-in-2019-heres-where-the-money-is-going.html
14. “5G – The Big Picture.” By Dr. Jeremy Naydler, April, 2019 Retrieved from takebackyourpower.net/5g-the-big-picture/
15. Vladimir Putin Says Whoever Leads in Artificial Intelligence Will Rule the World, By David Meyer, September 4, 2017 fortune.com/2017/09/04/ai-artificial-intelligence-putin-rule-world/
16. Ultra-fast 5G wireless service declared national security priority by White House by Danny Crichton, December 19, 2017 techcrunch.com/2017/12/19/ultra-fast-5g-wireless-service-declared-national-security-priority-by-white-house/
17. Will Artificial Intelligence Create Pathway To The Antichrist? By Britt Gillette, November 19, 2019 www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=3610#QUFHUABS0Vj1W5pv.99
18. China has started ranking citizens with a creepy ‘social credit’ system — here’s what you can do wrong, and the embarrassing, demeaning ways they can punish you, by Alexandra Ma Oct 29, 2018 www.businessinsider.com/china-social-credit-system-punishments-and-rewards-explained-2018-4
19. How China Is Using “Social Credit Scores” to Reward and Punish Its Citizens, By Charlie Campbell / Chengdu, 2019 time.com/collection/davos-2019/5502592/china-social-credit-score/
20. Chinese Social Credit Score: Utopian Big Data Bliss Or Black Mirror On Steroids? By Bernard Marr, Jan 21, 2019 www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2019/01/21/chinese-social-credit-score-utopian-big-data-bliss-or-black-mirror-on-steroids/#325c8bc848b8
21. ‘Social credit score’: China set to roll out ‘Orwellian’ mass surveillance tool By Bill Gertz – The Washington Times – December 9, 2019 www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/dec/9/social-credit-system-china-mass-surveillance-tool-/
22. Uh-oh: Silicon Valley is building a Chinese-style social credit system, By Mike Elgan, August 2019 www.fastcompany.com/90394048/uh-oh-silicon-valley-is-building-a-chinese-style-social-credit-system

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Comments

  • tanya said,

    Thanks for this article, great info and I especially like the links for anybody who wants to know more about specific aspects mentioned.

  • Nancy wezeman said,

    Lois you have opened my eyes and scared the hell out of me. Your article was incredibly thorough. I wish there was more we could do to protect our privacy short of opting out of technology. Even if this retiree could and would, I am 100% sure the next generation would not. Perhaps this is a dangerous addiction. Do I have the courage to fight it?

  • ellie said,

    Thank YOU Lois and Lloyd! Excellent research and information!

  • ellie said,

    For those of you who have followed this sight for a while, you know the battle against Big Tech is more than just a battle against biological harm, it is a spiritual war. For a deeper dive down the rabbit hold of technocracy’s greedy claws, I recommend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M8LB–H50M

  • ellie said,

    Server went down? Perhaps.your site is highly tracked and the powers that be don’t want the truth of Lois’ article and all your other excellent information being shared. For a deeper dive down the technocracy rabbit hole, check this out: http://www.radiationdangers.com/5g/is-the-coronavirus-actually-microwave-illness/

  • ellie said,

    More about Big Tech (Warning: not for the faint of heart!):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M8LB–H50M&t=9s

  • Lois Mary Cadwallader said,

    Interesting article in the New York Times – ONE NATION, TRACKED
    AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE SMARTPHONE TRACKING INDUSTRY FROM TIMES OPINION https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/12/19/opinion/location-tracking-cell-phone.html

  • Robin skone Palmer said,

    This is scary: Yesterday I was signing up for some medical assistance, the nurse had me sign a release for medical records. I asked her if she needed the doctor’s name, she said no, we just put in your name and all your medical records come up. Wait, what? You are telling me there is a database that can be accessed that has all my medical records?? Of course, I’m sure it is secure. Or is it? It’s out there. Any hacker can look at my medical records. I am not happy. Is anything really secure anymore?

  • CY said,

    One time I talked with a friend via text messages since we were meeting for dinner that evening, and we’re trying to find each other. When we finally met and were walking, I heard my phone had a sound. So I opened it and saw that there was a emoji of red lips with a kissing motion in a black background. I was surprised as my friend is not that kind of person. I was just wondering how he could send me that text message (if he really did) while he was still walking with me and was not even using his phone. There was also a message saying that it would disappear in 2 minutes.

    The second time we were chatting in text messages, suddenly a message popped up in the position between his and my message on the phone screen, like a third party that could see our conversation. I told my friend about it and he said he did not see it, and just ignore it. How could I ignore it? There was s third party watching out text messages. But I think it was from his phone that might be hacked when he talked to others. Because I never chatted with unknown people on my phone so that chances for me to get hackers would be remote. His phone is android and mine is iPhone and I had never had such an experience with anybody else, except with him.

    This thing, a third party message popping up, happened for a third time when I was chatting with him. One thing that is worth mentioning is that he had chatted on the social media platform in China. I hope that hacker is attached to his but not my phone.

    I talked to my cell phone company and they said that they had never heard of such a thing, in the US.

  • Charlene said,

    Great article Lois, very well done. Thanks to you (and BIll) for opening our eyes.

  • View All Comments

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