Japanese Government To Monitor Smartphone GPS Data All The Time

Smartphones have quickly become the internet-connected device of choice for consumers all over the world, due to portability and powerful specifications. But over in Japan, government officials make use of five new smartphones by NTT DoCoMo to secretly track users, including their location.

A Different Way of Tracking Consumer Smartphones

TheMerkle_Smartphone GPS Data Tracking NTT DoCoMo

In this era of consumer technology, governments around the world do not shy away from keeping close tabs on all citizens. Under the moniker of fighting domestic and international terrorism, government officials have started tracking users for quite some time now when they use computers and smartphones.

But in Japan, things have been taken to a whole new level, as mobile provider NTT DoCoMo launched five new smartphone models. While this news is usually greeted with a lot of enthusiasm, the Japan Times found out all of these devices contain a backdoor, giving the government access to consumer’s locations at all times.

It is not the first NTT DoCoMo makes media headlines due to their collaboration with the government. The company has provided GPS data to government officials, although they claim this was only done for emergencies only. Whether or not that is the official truth, will probably never be known, but the launch of these new smartphones is a strong indication something else is going on behind the scenes.

Additionally, the Japanese government removed the requirement for third-party apps to notify users when GPS data is being collected back in 2015. Among these five new devices are the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, the Sony Xperia X, and Arrows SV. All of the current smartphones issued by the mobile provider will receive a firmware update which enables the same functions, although no official dates have been revealed yet.

Some people strongly feel it should be illegal for carriers to access and share GPS records with the government without warning the user about it. This is a serious invasion of privacy, to say the least, although there is a case to be made for the handful of times such a feature could prove to be useful and needed. Monitoring this information 24/7 is taking things a few steps too far, though.

Source: Tech Worm

Images credit 1,2

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