All Cell Phones to Have GPS in 2019 - What This Means

Regain your privacy! Adopt /e/ the unGoogled mobile OS and online servicesphone


"…consider the following.

What would someone have said in 1999 if you told them that in 20 years every American would willingly carry around a tracking chip?

They probably would have told you you’re crazy.

How crazy will we be in 20 years? "


What this means, the GPS? In practical terms a big ZERO. The first iPhone (2006) had no GPS but still would tag pictures with the position and have maps and give you directions. Not perfectly accurate and very useful turn by turn navigation but for “big brother” capabilities still good enough. Sure, if you go in the wild where there’s no WiFi and the mobile cells are spread apart nobody will know precisely under which tree you’re sleeping. But otherwise in civilization they can tell precisely who you’re visiting and even at which stand you’re staying longer at the mall, without any GPS coverage at all.

The problem is never technology but the way it is used, generally by the users. Even with big desktop computers tied to the desk there was always a “problem” that simple mechanical typewriters are safer. With the computer you never know where the stuff is saved, if it’s really removed, you never know who’s doing Van Eck phreaking on you. If the machine is networked, even if for 10 minutes per day it’s already game over, it can just collect all your keystrokes and send them away!

The price of liberty is eternal vigilence.


How do you tell at which stand someone is staying longer, if that person has a smartphone like a Librem 5 or pinephone with turned off gps/wifi and even cell? Using a mac changer should be also basic by now. Big stores started to do mac tracking long time ago. Obviously if someone is looking at the CCTV recordings, it’s still possible to tell where someone stand longer.

There is a way to avoid most of the tracking methods but regular users mostly just do not care about it. However more and more people are getting sick of evil google or apple tracking. They are looking for alternatives.

1 Like

We are talking about normal practice for the last 15 years or so at least, with practical devices not some prototypes where there’s a big milestone if you can make a call and you can barely get them (even if you are willing to put up with basically no functionality at all). And the hypothetical is not “with turned off gps/wifi and even cell” or with the battery taken out (if you have a phone where you can still take out the battery) or if you left the phone home. The hypothetical is “what happens if all phones have GPS in 2020 (for example)?”. First of all it won’t be much different as the phones had GPS anyway in 2019 too (is there any phone in /e/ compatibility list without GPS?) and second even if there would be relevant phones without GPS still they won’t be so much a privacy shield as one would think. Network assisted positioning services (present via microG in /e/ as well except that here you can point them to Mozilla as opposed to Google or Apple) can very well pinpoint your position without GPS (again, at least in the civilized world).

Yes, if you would have a “phone” without GPS, WiFi and cellular capabilities it would be much “safer”. But completely useless too (and giving up just GPS won’t be much of an advantage, this is what I’m saying). The alternative is to have one where you actually can trust (to whatever possible extent) what the software and hardware running in your palm does with your data.

My remark wasn’t about removing GPS, Wifi or SIM, but more about having a simple way to control those features. I rarely need GPS or location services, so I turn them off in the system. I don’t give up GPS but it’s only active if there is a need for it. Same goes to wifi or even cellular services.

in general all the smartphones have been configured in a way that everything was supposed to be turned on all the time. At least that’s how the masses have been using their phones.

With all the new offerings like Pinephone or Librem5 there are at least alternatives for an easy way to control all the data generated by the various services. Lots of people still don’t grasp though, why it’s not a wise thing to have a phone with all the google, facebook, apple, amazon, etc. trackers. Obviously they won’t care about the Pinephone or Librem 5.

This is what this thread was about (or well, the opposite that GPS will be somehow mandatory - in the US - due to some regulation from 2011 that is starting to take effect). This might have seen excessive 10 years ago and outrageous 20 years ago but now it means nothing in practical terms, nobody would say with a straight face “I was planning to buy a phone without GPS but dang it, now I need to order it from oversees because it’s not passing the FCC and it can’t be legally sold anymore in the US”. There is no such thing, at least not in the context of running /e/.

This topic was automatically closed after 30 days. New replies are no longer allowed.