Spain’s National Statistics Institute (INE) will begin tracking smartphone locations of millions of people this week in preparation for the 2021 census, raising privacy concerns, reported RT News.
INE will track every smartphone in the country over a series of tests that will extend through 2020, and the government has assured Spaniards the project is completely “anonymous.”
INE partnered with Spain’s three largest mobile carriers – Movistar, Orange, and Vodafone, which account for approximately 80% of all smartphone users in the country.
Spaniards will be tracked between November 18 to 21, 24 to 25, several days in December, and two days in summer 2020.
INE will gather data on each smartphone user regarding the location of the mobile phones at various points of the day. The information will be used to paint a more accurate picture of people’s whereabouts during the workday and how they interact with others in the economy.
The data will be collected and analyzed for the next census of the population in 2021.
The data is also likely to help the government provide a better understanding of the economy and how to properly allocate funds for public services such as transportation and health care.
Spanish media have told people about the upcoming tests and how their location will be shared with INE.
The government’s plan to surveil its citizens through their smartphones has not been well received on social media.
One Twitter user said, “Starting at midnight and until Friday 21, Spain’s National Institute of Statistics, with the collaboration of @Movistar, @vodafone & @orange, will be tracking (anonymously it claims) the movements of everyone in Spain. So phones in flight mode, Wi-Fi only. Fuck the #SpyState.”
Starting at midnight and until Friday 21, Spain's National Institute of Statistics, with the collaboration of @Movistar, @vodafone & @orange, will be tracking (anonymously it claims) the movements of everyone in Spain. So phones in flight mode, Wi-Fi only.
Fuck the #SpyState??️♂️ pic.twitter.com/jDQAs25mtj
— Number Six (@d4veCAT) November 17, 2019