Issue 20: Are You Being Tracked? 
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Issue 20: Are You Being Tracked? 

If you carry a smartphone, it's likely that you use apps on the daily. Your data is being stored, your location is being tracked— but just what are the consequences? In this issue of The Slow Scroll (the last of 2019!) we look into what information we willingly give out to companies and how to ditch your smartphone for good. 

Your Phone is Tracking You. Now What?

An anonymous group handed over a massive data file 'logging the movements of tens of millions of people" to the NYTimes recently. In it contains "more than 50 billion location pings from the phones of more than 12 million Americans as they moved through several major cities, including Washington, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles."

Location tracking is common, and data companies argue that the information is anonymous. But it's all too easy to connect the dots to find out your identity from movements alone—Paul Ohm, a law professor and privacy researcher claims that "longitudinal geolocation information is absolutely impossible to anonymize.”

The whole piece is worth a thorough read, and the conclusion hits hard: "We are living in the world’s most advanced surveillance system. This system wasn’t created deliberately. It was built through the interplay of technological advance and the profit motive. It was built to make money. The greatest trick technology companies ever played was persuading society to surveil itself." Unsettled? Here are some tips to monitor your privacy on your phone.

Make Money Off Your Data With Andrew Yang

Presidential candidate hopeful Andrew Yang has made establishing "data as a property right" as part of his 2020 platform. This isn't the first tech-centered campaign of his: he's made headlines before by talking about how robots are stealing jobs from humans.

Yang has claimed that "our data is now worth more than oil," and wants the people to be able to profit from it as well. Personal data in the USA alone is reportedly a $198 billion industry.

Another aspect of his campaign will include more regulation of the tech industry and to create a governmental agency that will be responsible for minimizing the "health impacts of modern tech". Read more of his tech-minded policy here.

IRL Prompt: Ditch Your Smartphone

For this week's prompt, it may seem impossible but it is so easy—ditch your smartphone! Ensure that none of your data is tracked.

Here are some good cell phone alternatives: That's all for this issue! Thank you, as always, for your time and attention. For any feedback, thoughts, or tips, please e-mail us here. Happy holidays!
Send this to a friend who needs to slow down. Then invite them to your house for a New Year's party, with no cell phones allowed.

Why ‘The Slow Scroll’?

Social Isolation is Killing Us. Tech companies are failing us. And we’re all hopelessly addicted to our screens.

Living IRL has never been more important.

That’s why we created The Slow Scroll, a weekly newsletter by IRL Labs, sent directly to your inbox (oh the irony). The Slow Scroll curates the latest and most inspiring content and resources, empowering readers to untether and live slowly.

Brought to you by...

Ivan Cash, Editor-in-Chief
Cyrena Lee, Editor and Lead Writer
Erin Ellis, Illustrator

Emily Lin, Producer

Mailing Address
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Copyright © 2019 IRL Labs, All rights reserved.
The Slow Scroll is a curated newsletter dedicated to helping you live IRL. 
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