Google and Global Surveillance

August 14, 2020

DarkCyber noted “Android Users Could Detect Earthquakes Soon As Google Is Planning to Turn Them into Seismometers.” The write up describes a global system to note perturbations in the earth’s crust. Yep, earthquake warning on a global scale. The write up states:

the internet giant plans on using the built-in accelerators of Android devices to turn them into a network of makeshift seismometers, and while they won’t be able to predict these quakes, the long-term goal is that Android users affected by a tremor will receive push notifications as soon as it happens. Based on the report, Android users would have to opt-into the new system for it to work. Additionally, the phone would have to be plugged in and motionless to detect a nearby quake and send an alert to the user.

Useful data for the Google? That’s a good question. If one assumes the data are valid, what can these seismic data reveal? Ads for products needed in the aftermath of a natural disaster? Hints about investment opportunities? Fine grained surveillance of mobile phone users’ behavior when disaster strikes?

What use cases are possible? What about the location of a mobile device in an area in which looting is occurring? Any others come to mind?

Stephen E Arnold, August 14, 2020

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