(PresidentialInsider.com)- The Intercept obtained through a whistleblower a recording of a presentation conducted for a US government contractor that details how the company can track the location of billions of cellphones in real-time.
The presentation, given by Anomaly Six (A6), a US government contractor founded by two former military intelligence officers, was part of a pitch to another government contractor, Zignal Labs, a social media surveillance company that assisted the Pentagon with its artificial intelligence initiative Project Maven.
In the presentation, A6 claimed that it can track about 3 billion devices in real-time, and offered Zignal Labs the opportunity to use A6’s capability to enhance its surveillance abilities.
A6 reveals that it not only collects location data from cellphone GPS but also has a database of additional personal data, including 2 billion email addresses, which it uses to identify the owners of the devices it tracks. A6 purchased this data from thousands of smartphone apps that collect user information when the user signs up.
By joining forces with A6, the presentation explained, Zignal Labs could help the US government monitor foreign troop movement. To demonstrate how the system would work, on a satellite map of the world, with dots representing devices tracked by the company, the A6 representative showed 183 dots divided between the headquarters for the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. The representative then followed the movement of those 183 dots over the course of the past year.
In the Intercept article, the writers warn that there is a good chance that Anomaly 6 “knows an immense amount about you.” But it is only one of many companies that buy the location data and tracking for “hundreds of millions of people around the world” that gets collected because most people don’t realize some of the apps on their smartphones are constantly tracking location data and relaying it to advertisers. And once that data is compiled, others, in the private sector or the government, can buy it.
A spokesperson for Zignal confirmed that the A6 presentation took place, but denied that the two companies have any relationship.
In an email statement to The Intercept, Anomaly 6 co-founder Brendan Huff described his company as a “veteran-owned small business” and claimed A6 “cares about American interests, national security, and understands the law.”
Read the full piece HERE.