The Educator's PLN

The personal learning network for educators

Apps can secretly track an Android phone’s whereabouts and traffic patterns without needing access to GPS or WiFi, researchers have found.

Researchers from Northeastern University in the US found that instead of using those features, you could do similar tracking by using a phone’s sensors, most of which don’t require permissions to use.

Such sensors include the accelerometer and pedometer, which detect movement and measures the number of steps taken by the user.

In the case of Android, apps that require access to a phone’s sensors don’t need to request permission to access – you can control permissions if you’re running the latest version, but only 15% of Android devices have Marshmallow.

When used together, the researchers say they can help figure out the route you take to work or whether you carry your phone in your pocket or bag.

To do this, they used an algorithm that inserted data from the phone’s built-in sensors into graphs of the world’s roads. The researchers applied it to various simulated and real-world roadtrips where they collected scores of measurements taken from the phone’s changing position, including the angle of turns and the trajectory of curves.

They did this by carrying out two types of tests. They simulated drives in 11 cities around the world including Berlin, London, Rome, Boston, and Atlanta. They also drove more than 1,000 kilometres over more than 70 different routes in the US, specifically Boston and Waltham, Massachusetts.

For each trip, it generated the five most likely paths taken with a 50% chance that the actual path traveled was one of the five.

“Our research shows than an Android app does not need your GPS or WiFi to track you,” said the lead researcher Guevara Noubir. “Just using its sensors, we can infer where you live, where you have been, [and] where you are going.”

Following these findings, Noubir plans to examine how much this tracking is actually happening to Android users in the real-world.

Views: 17


You need to be a member of The Educator's PLN to add comments!

Join The Educator's PLN


Thomas Whitby created this Ning Network.

Latest Activity

John Marsh liked Catrin Cooper's blog post Simple Ways To Be A More Compassionate Teacher
13 hours ago
John Marsh liked Robert Mora's blog post Make your assignments in an exciting way
13 hours ago
Catrin Cooper posted a blog post

5 Ways to Teach Kids Essay Writing at Home

Teachers are busy people. They usually have enough time to go through the lectures and leave space fordiscussions at the end of the class. When it comes to teaching essay writing, however, they don’t have enough spacein their program.They will explain what the essay structure is supposed to look like. They will assign a topic. And that’s it. Thestudent is left under a huge pressure to figure out the essay writing process.As parents, we’re responsible to make this easier on our kids. This…See More
David Chiles updated their profile photo
David Chiles posted a status
"Add value to #online and offline relationships with pretty pictures, positive keywords, and location."
Catrin Cooper posted a blog post

Simple Ways To Be A More Compassionate Teacher

The lack of social and emotional skills can lead to burnout. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to develop theseskills. No one taught us these skills when we were kids. We also didn’t know that they’re vital in our adultlife and they can be developed.Schools are just starting to understand how emotions can affect students’ way of learning and overall well-being. Thus, students who were lucky enough to have compassionate teachers growing up have been trainedto develop gratitude and compassion. These…See More
Dorothy Hastings posted a status
"Here are some of the reasons why nursery rhymes are important for your child."
Steven Engravalle commented on Thomas Whitby's blog post Are Tech & Learning Compatible?
"Very well said."
Jan 13

Awards And Nominations

© 2018   Created by Thomas Whitby.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service