The Following is based on a story that appeared in American Military News and Vice, and not very many other places. No one is denying it, and no one is doing a damn thing about it either, at least not that I or anyone else in the Public can see. I found the story to be disturbing on several levels, Let me explain, and you decide whether you agree, or whether you think there is nothing to it. That it’s not a problem we should even look into let alone be worried about.
The subject of this story is the out of control CDC. The “Villain”, well we will get there.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the national public health agency of the United States. It is a United States federal agency, under the Department of Health and Human Services, and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.
I spell this out so everyone understands that the CDC is part of the Federal Government, therefore things that apply to The Government like THE LAW also apply to the CDC. Maybe this should be explained to them, unless the Law’s of the Country don’t apply to this Federal Agency someone needs to explain why not. This was the Headline that caught my eye.
CDC tracked 20+ million US phones to monitor COVID lockdown compliance says new report
Newly released documents showed the CDC planned to use phone location data to monitor schools and churches, and wanted to use the data for many non-COVID-19 purposes, too.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) bought access to location data harvested from tens of millions of phones in the United States to perform analysis of compliance with curfews, track patterns of people visiting K-12 schools, and specifically monitor the effectiveness of policy in the Navajo Nation, according to CDC documents obtained by Motherboard. The documents also show that although the CDC used COVID-19 as a reason to buy access to the data more quickly, it intended to use it for more-general CDC purposes.
That means this was the test run of a much larger program.
VICE first reported on the CDC’s actions after obtaining internal agency documents through a freedom of information act (FOIA) request. The CDC documents state the database is “derived from at least 20 million active cellphone users per day across the United States” to provide a geographically representative sample to study lockdown compliance.
That means the Federal Government has created an active ongoing Surveillance System of over 20 MILLION PEOPLE without a Warrant, and without Due Process. They have just decided they have the Authority to do so.
Location data is information on a device’s location sourced from the phone, which can then show where a person lives, works, and where they went. The sort of data the CDC bought was aggregated—meaning it was designed to follow trends that emerge from the movements of groups of people—but researchers have repeatedly raised concerns with how location data can be deanonymized and used to track specific people.
If you are tracking people by their phone there is no way it can be anonymous. If the Phone starts out everyday at 1313 Mockingbird Ln, and goes back there at the end of everyday. The Federal Govt has H. Muenster under Surveillance, because he lives at 1313 Mockingbird Ln.
The CDC reportedly purchased the commercially available data from a company called SafeGraph. The company gave the CDC access to one year of data for $420,000.
The documents reveal the expansive plan the CDC had last year to use location data from a highly controversial data broker. SafeGraph, the company the CDC paid $420,000 for access to one year of data, includes Peter Thiel and the former head of Saudi intelligence among its investors. Google banned the company from the Play Store in June.
Google banned SafeGraph from its Google Play Store in June. This meant that any app developers using SafeGraph’s code had to remove it from their apps, or face having their app removed from the store. It is not entirely clear how effective this ban has been: SafeGraph has previously said it obtains location data via Veraset, a spin-off company which interfaces with the app developers.
Several questions: Why is our Government buying tracking Data from a Foreign Spy Network, Why is the Federal Government knowingly allowing a Foreign Spy Network to Track every phone in the US ?
The CDC used the data for monitoring curfews, with the documents saying that SafeGraph’s data “has been critical for ongoing response efforts, such as hourly monitoring of activity in curfew zones or detailed counts of visits to participating pharmacies for vaccine monitoring.” The documents date from 2021.
They admit they are NOT just crunching the Data, they are actively monitoring 20 million people in Real Time.
Zach Edwards, a cybersecurity researcher who closely follows the data marketplace, told Motherboard in an online chat after reviewing the documents: “The CDC seems to have purposefully created an open-ended list of use cases, which included monitoring curfews, neighbor-to-neighbor visits, visits to churches, schools and pharmacies, and also a variety of analysis with this data specifically focused on ‘violence.’” (The document doesn’t stop at churches; it mentions “places of worship.”)
Motherboard obtained the documents through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the CDC.
The documents contain a long list of what the CDC describes as 21 different “potential CDC use cases for data.” They include:
- “Track patterns of those visiting K-12 schools by the school and compare to 2019; compare with epi metrics [Environmental Performance Index] if possible.”
- “Examination of the correlation of mobility patterns data and rise in COVID-19 cases […] Movement restrictions (Border closures, inter-regional and nigh curfews) to show compliance.”
- “Examination of the effectiveness of public policy on [the] Navajo Nation.”
At the start of the pandemic, cellphone location data was seen as a potentially useful tool. Multiple media organizations, including the New York Times, used location data provided by companies in the industry to show where people were traveling to once lockdowns started to lift, or highlight that poorer communities were unable to shelter in place as much as richer ones.
Against that inflamed backdrop, the use of cellphone location data for such a wide variety of tracking measures, even if effective for becoming better informed on the pandemic’s spread or for informing policy, is likely to be controversial. It’s also likely to give anti-vaccine groups a real-world data point on which to pin their darkest warnings.
Not just anti-vaccine groups, but every American would consider this not just controversial, but a Highly Illegal violation of our Civil Rights.
A SCREENSHOT OF THE USE CASES PROPOSED BY THE CDC. IMAGE: MOTHERBOARD.
The procurement documents say that “This is an URGENT COVID-19 PR [procurement request],” and asks for the purchase to be expedited.
But some of the use cases are not explicitly linked to the COVID-19 pandemic. One reads “Research points of interest for physical activity and chronic disease prevention such as visits to parks, gyms, or weight management businesses.”
Another section of the document elaborates on the location data’s use for non-COVID-19–related programs.
“CDC also plans to use mobility data and services acquired through this acquisition to support non-COVID-19 programmatic areas and public health priorities across the agency, including but not limited to travel to parks and green spaces, physical activity and mode of travel, and population migration before, during, and after natural disasters,” it reads. “The mobility data obtained under this contract will be available for CDC agency-wide use and will support numerous CDC priorities.”
Where does the CDC get the Authority to override the 4th, 5th, & 6th Amendments? Who approved this?
SafeGraph is part of the ballooning location industry, and SafeGraph has previously shared datasets containing 18 million cellphones from the United States. The documents say this acquisition is for data that is geographically representative, “i.e., derived from at least 20 million active cellphone users per day across the United States.”
Generally, companies in this industry ask, or pay, app developers to include location data gathering code in their apps. The location data then funnels up to companies that may resell the raw location data outright or package it into products.
That means the Federal Govt. and the Phone Carriers are not just violating our Rights, but are Profiting from the violation of our Rights selling the information to Foreign Spy Networks, and god knows who else.
SafeGraph sells both. On the developed product side, SafeGraph has several different products. “Places” concerns points of interest (POIs) such as where particular stores or buildings are located. “Patterns” is based on mobile phone location data that can show for how long people visit a location, and “Where they came from” and “Where else they go,” according to SafeGraph’s website. More recently SafeGraph has started offering aggregated transaction data, showing how much consumers typically spend at specific locations, under the “Spend” product. SafeGraph sells its products to a wide range of industries, such as real estate, insurance, and advertising. These products include aggregated data on movements and spends, rather than the location of specific devices. Motherboard previously bought a set of SafeGraph location data for $200. The data was aggregated, meaning it was not supposed to pinpoint the movements of specific devices and hence people, but at the time, Edwards said, “In my opinion the SafeGraph data is way beyond any safe thresholds [around anonymity].” Edwards pointed to a search result in SafeGraph’s data portal that displayed data related to a specific doctor’s office, showing how finely tuned the company’s data can be. Theoretically, an attacker could use that data to then attempt to unmask the specific users, something which researchers have repeatedly demonstrated is possible.
That is Police Level surveillance being conducted on millions of people.
In January 2019, the Illinois Department of Transportation bought such data from SafeGraph that related to over 5 million phones, activist organization the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) previously found.
In other words that means State Governments are also Violating our Civil Rights and invading our Privacy.
“SafeGraph offers visitor data at the Census Block Group level that allows for extremely accurate insights related to age, gender, race, citizenship status, income, and more,” one of the CDC documents reads.
Both SafeGraph and the CDC have previously touched on their partnership, but not in the detail that is revealed in the documents. The CDC published a study in September 2020 which looked at whether people around the country were following stay-at-home orders, which appeared to use SafeGraph data.
Not only did the Federal Government order us locked in our homes, they were and are actively surveiling us to see who wasn’t following “The Government Mandates”.
SafeGraph wrote in a blog post in April 2020 that “To play our part in the fight against the COVID-19 health crisis—and its devastating impact on the global economy—we decided to expand our program further, making our foot traffic data free for nonprofit organizations and government agencies at the local, state, and federal level.” Multiple location data companies touted their data as a potential mitigation to the pandemic during its peak in the United States, and provided data to government and media organizations.
You have to love that, it means the Saudi Spies are offering not just Local, State, and the Federal Government Illegal Surveillance, but any company that wants it.
Researchers at the EFF separately obtained documents concerning the CDC’s purchase of similar location data products from a company called Cubeiq as well as the SafeGraph documents. The EFF shared those documents with Motherboard. They showed that the CDC also asked to speed up the purchase of Cubeiq’s data because of COVID-19, and intended to use it for non-COVID-19 purposes. The documents also listed the same potential use-cases for Cubeiq’s data as in the SafeGraph documents.
No matter what they want to call this, or whatever “Loophole” they are claiming, this is a Violation of our Civil Rights. This is Active 24/7 Surveillance of American Citizens WITHOUT a Warrant, WITHOUT Due Process.
This is the Chinese System of Life, not the Freedom and Privacy that Americans are supposed to be guaranteed by Law.
I ask why is this NOT on the Frontpage of every news site in America? Why are NONE of our “Elected Officials” stopping this. Where are the Civil Rights Lawyers?
This is the first step of Tyranny already implemented, in place, and operational. They admit they are doing it, and I hear NO OUTRAGE.