The CDC Spied on Americans by Purchasing Location Data for Tens of Millions of Phones

Rockwell sang the catchy ’80s hit, “I always feel like somebody’s watching me,” You may feel the same, and you are probably right.

Vice Motherboard published Tuesday a report claiming that the Centers For Disease Control bought cell phone data from tens of millions of American phones to monitor compliance with COVID lockdown orders and other vaccination efforts.

It’s obvious that things have gone berserk when a government agency supposedly created to combat disease resorts to spying against Americans.

According to the NY Post: Vice obtained internal documents from the federal agency that show how it monitored Americans’ visits to churches and schools as well as their “detailed counts” of visits to vaccine monitoring pharmacies.

The CDC also reportedly monitored people’s movements during curfews or visits between neighbors.

SafeGraph, the controversial data broker that sold the data to the CDC, claims that the data provided is group location data and not individual. Critics raised concerns that the data was less anonymous than what data brokers claim. Vice reports:

Location data refers to information about a phone’s location that is derived from it. This can be used to show where someone lives, works, and where they go. Although the data purchased by the CDC was aggregated, it was intended to track trends that emerge from the movements of groups of people. However, researchers have raised concerns about how location data could be anonymized and used to track individuals.

A few years back, the New York Times did a deep dive into location data and reported on how they were capable of identifying a person named “Ms. Magrin”:

The device had an app that collected her location data, which was sold to third parties without her knowledge. According to The New York Times’ review of a database that includes more than a million New York-area phones, it recorded her location as frequently as every two seconds. Although Ms. Magrin was not identified in these records, The Times was able easily to connect her to this dot.

SafeGraph was also accused of selling location data to visitors to abortion clinics. They announced that they would stop this practice as of Wednesday. Peter Thiel, a billionaire and former head of Saudi intelligence, is believed to have at least partially funded the company. (Okay, it seems strange, doesn’t it)?

Gizmodo reports: SafeGraph, a data location broker company, has announced that it will no longer sell location data from groups of people who visited Planned Parenthood or other abortion clinics. This follows a Vice report. The data could have been used to tell who visited those clinics, where they came from, and how long they stayed there. It was also possible for them to know where they went afterward.

Although I suspect that not many Planned Parenthood top donations are on RedState at the moment, it is important to remember that what can be done for others can also be done for you. You might consider turning off your location next time you go to a gun shop.

The CDC is not the only source of purchasing data. The Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Illinois Department of Transportation were also accused of this practice.

Even if the data sold doesn’t reveal any personal information about you, I believe that you are being tracked. What is the evidence? Let’s suppose that the aggregate data shows that many people are attending church and violating lockdown orders. Enforcement officers will march to churches and send those who are in violation home. Even if you were not being tracked, this could affect you.

One thing is certain, we live in a surveillance society. We’ve known this for a while. My family attempted to go on a road trip last summer, but the navigation app scolded us for going too far away from home. Look at this Twitter feed.

With all the reforms that were implemented after 9/11 and the advent of cell phones and their ability to track our movements every second of every day, Americans are now acutely aware of the fact that their data could be sold. We thought, “Aren’t they busy fighting disease?”