Scientists want to track people with their own smartphones to study the spread of disease.
The researchers plan to use the geolocation technology already embedded in modern phones to track where patients frequent most by calling those areas “hot spots.”
“There are hot spots, or places where TB (tuberculosis) patients spend a lot of time,” said the project’s leader, Professor Christopher Whalen. “With this information, you can target areas with the usual community control strategies, such as TB screening, active case finding, and education.”
“If you collect this cellphone information going forward, you’ll be able to see if your control strategies worked.”
The study is a collective effort between a university in Uganda and the University of Georgia which has a $2.6 million grant from the U.S. government.
While the study examines TB spread in developing countries, the use of smartphones raises concerns.
For years, Infowars.com has chronicled household electronics being used to spy on Americans, especially when done so under the guise of benign reasons.
For example, back in 2012, a security firm made public that Samsung’s Smart TVs were vulnerable to a hack that would allow the viewers to be listened to and even watched.
Recently, WikiLeaks revealed that the CIA was using Samsung’s Smart TVs to listen to people in their own home via a microphone while the TV was in a “fake-off mode.”
To do this, the CIA developed a malware that was reportedly also capable of extracting usernames, passwords, and Wi-Fi keys that enabled access to the victim’s personal network.
Also, in May, millions of Americans had their real-time locations exposed without any notification of the breach.
Furthermore, a popular smart home assistant spied on Americans’ private conversations due to an “exploit” which allowed hackers to eavesdrop long after a command was given.
It would seem that the use of smartphones to track medical issues could normalize such tracking because it’s done for a “good cause” – but, as the old saying goes, the road to Hell was paved with good intentions.
And it also heightens medical privacy concerns, especially if people are somehow penalized by insurance companies or another entities for visiting known “hot spots” as mentioned above.