A 10-Digit Key Code to Your Private Life: Your Cellphone Number [telecom]

A 10-Digit Key Code to Your Private Life: Your Cellphone Number

By Steve Lohr

A mobile number can be even more valuable than a Social Security number, since it's tied to so many databases and connected to a device you carry with you.

The next time someone asks you for your cellphone number, you may want to think twice about giving it.

The cellphone number is more than just a bunch of digits. It is increasingly used as a link to private information maintained by all sorts of companies, including money lenders and social networks. It can be used to monitor and predict what you buy, look for online or even watch on television.

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Monty Solomon
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I find it hard to believe that numbers that come and go as you buy and toss burner phones, or take out and let lapse MVNO activations, can be deemed such a valuable "link to private info ..." :-) .

Cheers, -- tlvp

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It is valuable info.

Many businesses today key their customer code by telephone number, and with many people having only a cell phone (or rarely using their existing landline), the cell phone number is the one that is given out.

Businesses routinely share customer basic data, such as name, address, and telephone number.

Modern cell phones are now used for far more than mere voice calls. We all know that modern electronic devices are easily hacked and that malware is widespread. Even basic cell phones will quietly yield private information unless the user explicitly sets the phone not to do so.

Sadly, with the recent election built on a deregulation platform, I see personal privacy further eroding and corporations free to monitor whatever they want. I also expect little enforcement against malware efforts.

Recall years ago Proctor & Gamble, angry at newspaper reports, demanded that Cincinnati Bell provide them home records of P&G employees to search out leakers. This was a gross invasion of privacy. I dare say today that would be seen as a legitimate business security effort.

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