Vice's Motherboard article on how easy it is to track people's physical location using their mobile phone is another example of why using mobile phone numbers as identifiers for instant messaging services (WhatsApp, Signal, more) is a very bad idea. Sure, it helps with discoverability of contacts, but at the expense of many other things.

This really is one of the shittiest versions of the trickle down economy, where what trickles down is your location data, updated in real time, to shady actors.


Also, remember those scenes in films from years past where the cops would anxiously hope to keep the evildoers on the phone long enough to "trace the call"? How quaint, now they just load a buggy website anytime to check where the phone's located, no time-pressure or oversight.

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