Mobile Privacy Laws Less Stringent than You Think
Privacy is a constitutional right for American citizens, but when it comes to cell phone security, the protection may not be as all-encompassing as you might think. According to Wired.com, the Obama administration classifies cell phone records as "third-party records," along with bank records and credit history. This means that the individual does not have the right to keep that data private. The records are kept by phone companies, and since consumers never see this information, it is not considered to be their private information. In turn, the data is not protected under individual privacy rights.
"Back in the day with landlines, [there] were pretty clear, pretty strict laws about what the police could access, when it could access it, and what sort of judicial oversight was required," Massachusetts Representative Ed Markey told NPR. "These days, because cell phone technology in particular, and the data it produces, is relatively new and so abundant, the law hasn't kept up with it. So law enforcement is really not faced with as many limits as it used to be."
Essentially, the technology is still too new for lawmakers to have set a policy in stone, which could leave individuals vulnerable. If the federal government can access this data, there may not be a lot standing in the way of hackers accessing your personal information. Recently, one hacking group proved just how easily they could obtain pertinent data by collecting more than 12 million ID numbers of Apple iPhones and iPads.
Lawmakers are working to create strict policies regarding cell phone security, but there is more that you can do to protect your information. A recent Pew survey found that about 68 percent of cell phone users receive unwanted calls from solicitors, and 79 percent have gotten sales or marketing text messages. Often times, hackers use these as a way to gain access to a mobile device.
If a text contains a link, it is important to never click on it. The link may lead to an unsafe website that could allow viruses to infect your phone. You can also consider setting up a second phone number and using it in lieu of your real number. This allows you to block calls and texts at certain times as well as protect your personal information from potential hackers.