Ross: How to baffle Google

Jan 25, 2022, 5:57 AM | Updated: 9:55 am
The Google corporate logo hangs outside the Google Germany offices on Aug. 31, 2021. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

I see that our state attorney general is now suing Google for secretly tracking us. It turns out that even after you think you’ve turned off the tracking feature, the app can still follow you.

And that is one of the fundamental flaws of today’s personal devices. Unless you physically remove the battery, there’s no way to be absolutely sure they’re really off.

So, the AG intends to make Google pay. Which they will probably do, and then just keep tracking us in some other way.

You see, I know a little about secret surveillance because as a 13-year-old, I wired my parents’ house so I could eavesdrop on everyone.

I had a tap on the living room TV speaker so I could still hear TV shows after they sent me to bed. But I also discovered that if the TV was off – I could use that speaker as a microphone to eavesdrop on conversations when they had company over.

And, of course, I never told them.

Don’t worry, I am almost completely reformed now. I do have the phones tapped here at home, but everybody knows, so it’s OK.

Anyway, back to Google. Like me, the company clearly has a fascination with surveillance, but here’s an idea just in case the AG’s lawsuit doesn’t work.

At some point, everybody upgrades their smartphones. That leaves you with leftover phones. I personally have two leftover phones that still work perfectly well on Wi-Fi.

So suppose we turned all our old phones into decoy phones. You take your old phone, make sure location services and browsing history are turned on, and swap it for your neighbor’s old phone, and just keep it in the car so it’s always driving around with you. If enough people did this, pretty soon, it looks like everybody is in two places at once …

If everyone in America just drove around with each other’s old phones, suddenly the Google brain would be flooded with phony location data.

For example, if I did the old-phone swap with my neighbor, who’s in the fishing business – Google would have to figure out how I could be spending an evening at the Seattle Rep even as I was working on a seafood processing barge in Bristol Bay.

He’d be seeing ads for audio mixers, and I’d be getting ads for bilge pumps.

And THAT’s how you stick it to the Man.

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