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Your Personal Data Is On Your Phone -- In the Form of Bacteria

Unknown Lamer posted about two weeks ago | from the never-borrowing-a-phone-again dept.

Science 21

jfruh (300774) writes "Yes, we all know that we have a lot of personally identifying information on our phones that maybe we shouldn't. But even if our data is locked down and encrypted, we're all leaving biological footprints on our phones, which are basically extensions of our personal bacterial ecosystem. A study has concluded that phones could be a less invasive source of information in studying individual microbiomes than current techniques."

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21 comments

Just leave my microbiome alone (4, Insightful)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about two weeks ago | (#47458787)

I don't want to be tracked: I don't want my personal data stored and dissected in Google's servers, I don't want my fingerprints filed in some government agency's database, I don't want my DNA sequenced and recorded anywhere, and I don't want my microbiome analyzed.

I don't want to, but I have no choice apparently. Anonymity is going the way of the dodos. Fuck I hate this world...

Re:Just leave my microbiome alone (3, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about two weeks ago | (#47458897)

I don't want to, but I have no choice apparently

Sure you do; you just (apparently) want to use sites with AdSense too much to stop using them.

Also, noone is sequencing your DNA for marketing purposes, I promise you.

Anonymity is going the way of the dodos.

Only if you care so little as to not take steps to achieve anonymity, sure.

Re:Just leave my microbiome alone (1)

invictusvoyd (3546069) | about two weeks ago | (#47460361)

Part of the problem is people changing (upgrading?) their phones every six months . That really does not make sense. I can make a PC last for 5 years ( with linux) . The cell phone industry is a profit oriented pseudo innovative group of capitalists who dont care . The phrase "too many standards to choose from" is most reflected in the cell phone industry.

Re:Just leave my microbiome alone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47467419)

Since neither the parent or this response were made by Anonymous Cowards, I take it both of you are talking metaphorically about privacy and have abandoned it for yourselves.

** Any Bacteria spores attached to this message are the property of the colony and not intended for forensic data collection or data mining.

I don't have a phone (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47458819)

you insensitive clod!

Re:I don't have a phone (4, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | about two weeks ago | (#47458889)

Is that still legal?

Re:I don't have a phone (2)

NotInHere (3654617) | about two weeks ago | (#47458937)

I suppose phones are forbidden in jails, so... As long as you are in jail...

Re:I don't have a phone (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | about two weeks ago | (#47459311)

But those phones that do make it to a person in jail is shockful of bacteria, and not all of it from the final user.

Clean your data! (1)

nowsharing (2732637) | about two weeks ago | (#47458861)

This is exactly why the security-conscious always wipe their phones clean

Re:Clean your data! (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about two weeks ago | (#47459027)

There's a shitload of data on my rear end.

Re:Clean your data! (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about two weeks ago | (#47459175)

I hope your phone doesn't collect anything from THERE! Remind me never to borrow your phone!

Re:Clean your data! (1)

jenningsthecat (1525947) | about two weeks ago | (#47460333)

Never heard of 'butt dialing'?

Re:Clean your data! (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about two weeks ago | (#47459273)

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction [slashdot.org] .

Still a shitty idea, no matter how you slice it.

Re:Clean your data! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47462117)

Awesome. :]

I don't install those apps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47458959)

If the app requires permission to access my micro biological data, I refuse to install it.

Electronic Odour (1)

sdack (601542) | about two weeks ago | (#47459341)

So basically what researchers are saying is that the trail a person leaves on the Internet, and the phone networks, is not much different from our body odour, which also stems more or less from bacteria. This is a rather fascinating if not a bizarre analogy. If so then we can only hope our trails drive of competitors and attracts the opposite sex. Somebody please pass me the soap.

I do wonder what Napoleon would have made of it. Would he have told his women before returning from battles not only not to wash, but also not to clear their browsing history?!? ...

SciFri had a related story few weeks back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47459493)

You may find this interesting: SciFri: Making Art From the DNA You Leave Behind [soundcloud.com] .

Don't worry about title mentioning about Art, it's very little to do about art what they talk about, it's about study of privacy, security and possible consequences, a solution she developed etc.

Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s “Stranger Visions” project started with a question: What could she learn about a person by collecting one of their stray hairs? In an age of ever-cheaper DNA sequencing, the answer turned out to be “a lot.” Dewey-Hagborg’s portraits of strangers, made with DNA samples found in public places, called attention to the feasibility of DNA snooping. Now with her latest project, “Invisible,” she wants to put the tools to protect genetic privacy in consumers’ hands. But is total genetic privacy really possible?

Who wants my old phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47460105)

You can get the pink eye I caught from my kids for free.

Gattaca demonstrated this (1)

d0ran$ (844234) | about two weeks ago | (#47461535)

The movie Gattaca [wikipedia.org] had a lot of the plot based on DNA.

From the Wikipedia article: ...
The film's title is based on the first letters of guanine, adenine, thymine, and cytosine, the four nucleobases of DNA. ...

Was Gattaca a preview of a real future where our DNA controls where we live/work etc...

T-Mobile phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47464011)

http://thecolbertreport.cc.com/videos/p4t1a2/vibrant-constipation-pill

I am sure those phones will have a lot more bacteria than otherwise.

"Anonymity" has never existed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about two weeks ago | (#47465617)

When humanity was rural and communities small, everybody had their nose up everyone else's ass. Ask anyone who has lived in a small town. When cities got bigger, those in charge could usually find out about and grab anyone they were interested in for a varying amount, depending on the trackee's intelligence and the government's (lack of) organization. Nowadays, it's a little bit easier IF someone has an interest in finding you (it doesn't cost as much as, say, 50 years ago) but even before computers, if THEY wanted to find you, you were found (Exhibit A: Eichmann; Exhibit B: Mengele). The ability to find people has always been constrained by available money, and by nothing else. So, please stop deluding yourselves about your own importance... the government has always known, and unless you represent a substantial monetary loss, it doesn't care.

The sheer amount of data they have to collect provides a kind of fish-school protection effect because thy don't have the budget to hire analysts to interpret it all. Remember that the commies knew way, way more than modern Western states ever have known, and even they couldn't interpret the data well enough, fast enough. If you want to blow whistles or otherwise attract the attention of The Big Bad Overseers, make it expensive for them to go after you (fake identity, bolthole somewhere disorganized [no, not Russia FFS], and your track will be abandoned (not lost) because, like everyone else, they are "overworked and underpaid". To use a metaphor, what good is having every aircraft on your radar when there is only one radar screen and only one controller on duty? A lot of things will escape that controller's attention and metal's gonna get bent.

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