Cell phone batteries.

cell phone

Have you ever noticed that most new cell phones do not allow you to remove the battery?

Well, I don't know about you, but I don't think it's by accident. You are being tracked. At the moment it's being blamed on malware and while that is part of the reason for getting tracked, it's not all of it.

The NSA has a diverse range of surveillance capabilities—from monitoring Google Maps use to sifting through millions of phone call records and spying on Web searches. It doesn’t end there. The agency can also track down the location of a cellphone even if the handset is turned off, according to a report released in 2013.

The common explanation is that the non-removable batteries make it possible for the phones to be slimmer, allow for other features and make the phone more water resistant, but I am not convinced.

Industry insiders say turning off your phone wil do the trick, but don't count on it, because there are 10,000 or so unlucky people who have their devices infected by a specimen of Andriod malware called 'PowerOffHijack'.  Once in installed the malware spoofs an authentic shutdown animation and makes your phone appear to be turned off. When in reality, it's still very much on and easily traceable. And who were the original developers of the malware? You guessed it....The NSA.

The NSA passed the malware off as a legitimate update for the phone firmware and they use it to track terrorists and criminals, which I have no problem with, but I am neither of those two things.

At the time of this post, I could not find a way to test a phone to see if it is infected with the PowerOffHijacker and could find no information on how to remove it if a phone is infected. There are virus scanners for phones that say they remove malware, but PowerOffHijacker was never mentioned as one of the detectable infections.

So, it appears the only way to be sure that your phone is not transmitting is the remove the battery and there-in-lies the problem, unless you want to risk breaking your phone and voiding your warranty if it is still covered.

I have heard stories of someone talking about a particular subject while their cell phone was sitting nearby, and then a couple of days later getting ads related to the very subject they were talking about. And I have to say, I am not surprised nor is it not within the realm of possibility. 

So, as an experiment and for a follow up post to this one, a friend of mine and I are going to try it and see. I'll post the results when we do.



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