The British government tracked the location of millions of UK citizens without their knowledge or consent
Location tracking by government agencies became a major concern with the rise in popularity of smartphones, and it looks like some of those fears were not unfounded. A recent report disclosed by the government of the United Kingdom admitted that millions of British citizens had their location tracked without their knowledge or consent.
The report states that 10% of British mobile phone users had their locations tracked via proximity to cell phone towers. The tracking was used to see how the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines affected Brits’ willingness to spend time away from their homes.
According to The Telegraph, the report states that people’s locations were tracked without their “express knowledge.”
A report from the SPI-B committee of Government scientists admitted that data from one in ten peoples’ phones were tracked in February, without their owners’ express knowledge.
The UK government downplayed concerns by claiming the tracking was anonymized. Per The Telegraph:
A Government source said: “This analysis is at the cell tower level of anonymised data and is therefore not individual surveillance.”
Perhaps most alarming is that the tracking took place without giving the participants the option to consent to the study. Worse still, those tracked had no idea their location was monitored.
Apple came under fire last September when it released an iOS update with COVID-19-related tracking tools baked into it. That update at least required users to intentionally opt-in to the service. The British government apparently didn’t give its citizens that courtesy.
What do you think of the UK government’s tracking study? Let us know in the comments.
The Telegraph (paywall)