Andrew Hyde sold all of his worldly possessions last August and began a trip around the world. He makes no secret of this — its detailed on his website. We’re well aware that personal information becomes vulnerable whenever we agree to the terms of service of yet another fun geo-location mobile app as it typically utilizes information from the phone’s positioning to track real-time location. But this week, geodata geek and author Pete Warden released an open-source iPhone application that exploits a file in iPhone 4 (or iPad 3G) containing all recorded geographic data in the phone’s history.
The information is available without a password to anyone with access to a laptop that the iPhone in question has synced with, notes Hyde. iPhones and iPads on iOS 4 record approximate the data based on the devices distance from the cell tower it is connected to at any given time. Is this something to worry about? Not really. Unless you’re a criminal with a bullshit alibi — data from cellphones and other mobile devices have been used by authorities for years.
Thanks to a California Supreme Court decision in January, no warrant is required for authorities in our state to search cell phones or mobile devices of arrestees.
I was looking all over for the syllabus from a course I was fortunate to take in the fall of 2006 at USC, Set-Top Box: Hollywood’s Secret War on Your Living Room. As if it wasn’t enough to meet weekly with Cory Doctorow, the guests he brought in and the material we read were priceless and it has all stuck with me in many ways. Having tracked down the syllabus in an old socialtext wiki I thought I’d reprint it here so I no longer have to dig and dig and dig to refer back to some of the readings. The class blog and my class project are still online.
I was appalled to find out that not only am I being charged monthly for a service — FreeCreditReport.com (billed as CIC*TRIPLE ADVANTAGE) — that I don’t use but that according to Experian, my SS# and credit history is apparently tied to one ANDREA LAVELLE, also known as Andrew C. Sternberg, and born in 1964 (my actual year of birth is 1975). Only one of three addresses listed are mine and among my supposed debts are a quarter-million dollars in real estate assets (I’ve only rented — never owned).
UPDATE JUNE 6: Finally got thru to Experian (the number for disputes that worked was 1 800 208 9232) and cleared 21 accounts from my credit report that weren’t mine as well as at least a dozen addresses where I never lived. The woman on the phone confirmed that “this happens all the time.” These computers are made by humans, she said. Sounds like you really need some new computers, or an overhaul of your IT staff, I rebutted.
UPDATE: I discovered that indeed one Andrea Lavelle does work at Antioch Tire in Antioch, IL — at the very address listed on MY Experian credit report. Thanks to some Google searching and a call to my purported identity thief’s workplace, I know when she’ll be in the office — but I don’t know who to send (or if there might be a third party involved whose hijacking both of our identities). Guess I’ll call the FTC in the morning.
Upon calling FreeCreditReport.com customer care I was instructed to file a dispute on the website, however, when disputing the first thing listed (the address) i was told that their online disputing system is currently unavailable. I then asked, no, demanded to know why two unknown addresses as well as several assets that aren’t mine are listed on this record which is supposedly based on my social security number. Fill out this form is all I was told. And they will e-mail you. Well the second form didn’t get me anywhere as you can see from the error message below.
So, HOW can I find out what’s up with this BS on my credit report? Is this a bug on Experian’s end (owner of FreeCreditReport.com and issuer of my inaccurate credit report) or has someone who goes by Andrea Lavelle been piggybacking on my credit for better and/or worse? For the record, my credit score according this report is fine, so I have yet to be adversely affected by this mystery (as far as I know).
This is how many people spend their holiday travels — being given the runaround by their airlines on an otherwise perfect weather day before finding themselves stranded in Dallas with a voucher to the Westin at the airport to kill 20 hours.
This is also why I do everything I can to take direct flights and when not possible, avoid flights with stopovers of less than one hour, or at least make certain that my airplane will be waiting for boarding bhy the time I’m through security — not, as was the case yesterday — still en route from DFW, in spite of perfect weather throughout the southern U.S.
I’m flying on American Airlines, and I’m using miles, so I do have the flexibility to switch things up without penalty and I did speak to a very nice woman on the phone as my LAX-DFW delay grew inexplicably longer, even after the 767 was sitting at the gate. Originally my 1:25 flights was scheduled to arrive DFW at 6:35 and I was to fly DFW – EZE at 7:25. Even after the plane was loaded in record time — like 15 minutes, we sat at the gate for 30-45 minutes while cargo was loaded and the truck was hooked up to taxi us to the runway. There were about a dozen other folks on this flight who were headed to Argentina. Upon landing — around 7:45 — I momentarily raised my fist as the recording on the other end of the phone (I dialed AAAdvantage the moment we touched down) said your flight has been delayed. “It is now departing at 7:35.” Which, I confirmed with the representative who helped me out a minute later, meant that it had already left. I was able to confirm seats on a flight that will hopefully get me to Buenos Aires tomorrow morning and I had it confirmed before I even got off the plan in Dallas. But, again it entailed ANOTHER stop over, this time with only a 45 minute window. I’ll be headed for Miami in 90 minutes (my ticket says) and then will be off for Buenos Aires 45 minutes after arrival — only 5 gates away. There is a later Miami to B.A. flight but it is entirely booked (as was the earlier DFW-MIA flight). Fortunately, I did not book any hotel for tonight so I am not actually losing any money out of this whole delay and still have 17 days or so to live it up in South America.
I’m typing this from the Admiral Club at DFW where I’ve been most of the day. Tried every trick in the book to get free access — after all, they made me miss my “big meeting” in Buenos Aires this morning. But settled for what apparently they think is a great deal. Free WiFi for $50 and access to their cozy chairs and not-as-trafficked bathrooms. Talk about abuse of the “free” concept. Kind of like my “free” $5 lunch voucher. That should be able to by me a sandwich — without the meat and veggies.
That’s the update from DFW. Things are shaping up great for the next couple weeks and I did get some time to research and organize what I will be doing — which should work out even better than ever, in the aftermath of the failed travel agent experiment (more on that another time… maybe).
Expected arrival in EZE 7:10 am the 22nd. I’ll be picked up and deposited at 248 Finisterra Hotel, which looks great and was even written up in the NYT a few months ago. I’ll be hooking up with Marcelo Gasio from WCM Argentina and Noah Kagan in the next couple days and spending two nights at Solar Soler, which is less expensive than 248 Finisterra but appears to be about as dope, and in a cool ‘hood. Chances are that I’ll take advantage of available flights on the 25th and begin the trek to Patagonia — at the moment flights on the 26th and 27th to Bariloche look tight but 25th is wide open. Plans will be more fleshed out after spending the afternoon tomorrow soaking up the Buenos Aires summer air. I can’t wait. Cross your fingers for my flights. And to all you other holiday travelers — flight the power!