Q: Are Android phones tracking your every move, even after opting out of location services?

A: An investigation launched by Quartz has concluded that phones equipped with Android software are surreptitiously transmitting user location data to Google even with location services turned off, a spokesman of the company has confirmed.

The investigation supports the corollary that removing a phone’s SIM card, resetting the device to factory settings, and deleting all apps will not garner protection against the prying eye of Google. 

A phone’s communication with WiFi access points, proximal devices, and cell-towers are all implicated in pinpointing user locations.

Solutions for those wishing to stay clear of location snooping:

-do not carry a phone

-wrap your phone in aluminum foil to create a small-scale Faraday cage that blocks all signal transmissions

-dont use Android software, though other phone types may be afflicted with the same problems

-wait for a solution from Google

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I have been a proponent of EDC (every day carry, exigency-/disaster carry) principles and equipment for 5 years now. My equipment preferences are continuously being refined, and though I have yet to use a few items (i.e. firearm, pepper-spray, etc.) I am convinced that those who make a habit of keeping an EDC kit about their person will always be in a better security posture than their unprepared counterparts should an unfortunate situation arise.

I want to share with you a sample of an EDC inventory to facilitate a productive curiosity that could help you compile your own EDC. First, lets cover some basics.

Guidelines to Consider When Preparing for EDC

  1. EDC should conform to context. The first thing to know about any EDC kit is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to determining what you should carry. While survival essentials (food, water, shelter, clothing, etc.) are the same for all people, EDC equipment beyond these essentials is highly constrained to context and personal dispositions. What a rural farmer carries is bound to be far removed from what an urban dweller in a high-crime neighborhood might carry. Many individuals are afflicted with health ailments that require special medications, corrective lens’s, and the like. Therefore, to determine what tools you should carry, ask yourself what exigent situations are most likely to develop in your area and make reasonable assessments of your health and wellness dispositions. If you are on any medications, you should put a supply of them in your EDC. Likewise with corrective lens’s; if you wear contacts, be sure to carry a back-up pair of glasses.
  2. EDC inventories should have a core of survival items. I make a point to always carry at least 1 liter of water, a lighter, knife, and some cordage. EDC is not supposed to make you feel comfortable in a situation (though a good kit may), it is supposed to keep you alive. When packing an EDC kit keep the essentials of survival in mind.
  3. Do not divulge the whole of your EDC to others. While I would enjoy sharing with you the full extent of my EDC posture, it would be unwise. Why? Because the carrying of certain items could make myself a target depending on the emergency situation. I don’t want to be the one fending off hordes of unprepared citizens when the message comes down the line that we have to take care of ourselves. People could very well kill you for your water or first aid kit if they are desperate enough. It is therefore better to keep some things secret.
  4. Multi-functionality tools are your friends. Do not carry too much.

 

 

The Bag:

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This bag is conventionally termed a ‘camel-bak’ as it comes with a 1.5 liter reservoir for water, very handy in an emergency given you have filled it. The other features of the bag include a large carrying space, small carrying space, and two plastic buckles attached to the shoulder straps for tightening down the load to your body. The bag material should be rugged and not comprised of some cheap stuff that will not put up well with the elements. Ok now lets get into the bag contents.

Contents:

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The assortment of items seen above include the following (from left to right):

  1. CRKT Law-Enforcement style knife (we will review the features of this knife later)
  2. Ear-plugs w/ carrying tube (white)
  3. Kubotan (homemade) – a large diameter bolt wrapped in 550 paracord
  4. Pens and Sharpie
  5. Swiss Army Multi-tool
  6. Lighters
  7. Alcohol in glass carrying bottled
  8. Leatherman Multi-tool w/ various attachments
  9. Headphones w/ mic.
  10. Flint and Steel
  11. Contact Case
  12. Pair of Work Gloves
  13. Length of 550 paracord configured in snake-knots
  14. Handcuffs
  15. Lockpicks
  16. LED Flashlight w/ extra batteries
  17. G27 .40 cal. w/ extra magazine
  18. Phone
  19. Cereal-Bars

 

Bottle of Alcohol:

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This item is packed specifically as a fire-starter aid. In addition, the alcohol can be used as an anti-septic for disinfection or typical wound care.

The Kubotan:

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The concept of the Kubotan is attributed to Sōke Takayuki Kubota. The item above is merely a nuance of the original concept in that it is primarily used as an impact weapon and not as a joint manipulation tool. It is constructed of 550 paracord and a large diameter bolt. It can be used to break out windows, chisel through ice, demarcations of stone, and of course, as a concealable impact weapon. The paracord from which it is constructed affords more uses.

Lock-picks:

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This item is of no use unless you have attained the requisite skill. Using a tensioner and a single diamond-pick can aid access through many locks and doors.

The Leatherman:

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An all-around useful multi-tool with a wide variety of screw-driver attachments. Intrinsic components include a can-opener, knife, saw, files, scissors, wire-cutters, and pliers. Well-worth the money. It is like carrying a miniature tool-bag.

 

The Flashlight:

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This model of flashlight is particularly bright, using LED technology with a telescopic neck. The light can be focused so as to blind opponents or hone in on a distant object/person. The light features strobe and S.O.S. flicker settings as well. The light can also be utilized as an impact weapon.

CRKT Knife:

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I will now speak to you on the fundamentals of a shinobi’s art of intelligence. Source material for the following discussion includes the Yokan Denkai and Yokan Rigen manuals of ninjutsu written by Chikamatsu Shigenori. Also included are some of my own practices and thoughts on the art of intelligence and how it may prove useful to self-protection.

In my last video I explained why Sun Tzu’s writing on the Use of Spies was so fundamental to ninjutsu. Shinobi were first and foremost spies and therefore we should expect anyone who is attempting to recreate, discuss, or practice ninjutsu in accordance with what is verifiably true, to exhibit knowledge of  the art of intelligence as it is called today.

The art of intelligence has ancient roots. Veritably the most essential element to any successful military campaign, espionage and its fruits have has been embraced by multitudes of cultures and is still essential to military affairs today. It may be surmised that even prior to the teachings of Sun Tzu, spying on the affairs of others was practiced in the preservation of power or in facilitating an attempt to wrest power away from perceived enemies.

You can imagine the activities of these proto-spies, skulking around to eavesdrop on conversations that might produce vital information, but unfortunately imagination is all we have to animate a great many spies  who will never be known to human history…for  they dealt in the trade of secrets. Likewise with the shinobi, it will never be known just how many of them existed, or how it is exactly that they lived.

However, it is known that spies have existed and still do exist, also it is known that in the distant past they developed their methods of gathering intelligence under the constraints of their human senses and relatively inferior technology. Unlike the spies of the 21st century, shinobi did not have cameras or satellites, and so again their modes of intelligence work were confined to creativity and the human sensorium.

A shinobi, needed to have good senses and a robust memory, for it was through these characteristics that information would be recorded and transmitted to the interested party. Fortunately, the human senses can be trained, and I imagine shinobi had their own particular methods of sharpening them. But as tempting as the digression into this avenue of inquiry is, let us stick to the essentials of spying. All that we need to know now is that espionage in the past required acute senses and a good memory for the acquisition of select information.

Now, just what kind of information did the shinobi gather? Well, anything about the enemy disposition could have proved to be valuable. The Yokan Denkai places emphasis on retrieving details of the political situation circumscribing the enemy and their system of justice having to do with rewards and punishments, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of everything, including their fortifications, military command, military behavior and customs, and how many troops are stationed in a given area. There is a wide assortment of other information that ninjutsu manuals advise a shinobi to target, too many to list at this time.

Let me stop here and point out another component to good intelligence gathering. Implicit to the practice of gaining information on the enemy is secrecy, obviously. If a spy is not familiar with deceiving the enemy as to his presence, then he will not live long once he has been found out. This is where human creativity kicks in. The sundry details of ninjutsu dealing with Yonin disguises and In-nin infiltration techniques, as well as listening devices, lockpicking techniques, creeping around on rooftops, and moving beneath the still waters of a moat revolve around this fundamental intelligence principle, to be secret and to deceive.

In understanding this, we can see now that ninjutsu itself has at its core the principle of secrecy in gathering intelligence, and it is around this principle that ninjutsu seems to have developed.

The same principles intrinsic to ninjutsu are found within the details of modern intelligence modalities, and due to the timeless nature of these principles, we can still apply them to our lives today with a bit of creativity.

Why should we incorporate the art of intelligence into our own system of self-protection or preparedness skillset? Because according to Sun Tzu, we may be sure to defeat our enemy only with the fulfillment of two conditions: knowing ourselves and knowing the enemy. Introspection and self-assessment in relation to the abilities of others can help us fulfill the first condition. The second condition can only be fulfilled if we understand and apply the art of intelligence.

One caveat here. Do not fall into the tendency to see your enemy through your eyes alone. It is just as important to your strategy that you see yourself from the enemy’s point of view- through the enemy’s eyes, for he may be studying you without your knowledge. In this respect, one can see how every bit of information you publicly divulge about yourself can be used against you if your enemy has the know-how. Social engineers offer prime examples of this and if you do not know what a social engineer is, I advise you look up the term.

Anyway, applying the principles of ninjutsu to a modern context requires creativity and common sense of the times. It would not be wise, for instance to emulate the dress of a shinobi in Yo-nin get-up while trying to gain entrance to some place of informational interest. As entertaining as this sight would be, it offers no value to your self-protection.

Now that we have covered the theoretical, I will now give you the practical content. These are not authentic ninjutsu exercises. They are exercises that you can use to develop your senses.

Sensory Training: Attire Identifiers

This exercise is all about developing short-term memory as it is applied to retaining a picture of what a person is wearing. Find a place to people watch. Enter the area and begin observing the people around you. Be sure not to make it obvious that you are watching them. You can opt to wear sunglasses or a rimmed hat to conceal the fixation of your eyes if you wish. When you are ready, select a random person and briefly scan over their manner of dress. After a few seconds, look away and try to hold the image in your mind as long as possible. You will notice that the image becomes more and more distorted in your minds eye as time goes by. With practice, you will accustom your mind to holding the image for longer periods until you are ultimately capable of scanning a person and remembering hours later exactly what they are wearing. How detailed can you get? Is the person wearing a watch, or necklace? How is the hair styled? What is the person doing? You can increase the difficulty of this exercise by entering an area, selecting three or more people, briefly scanning them over, and then leaving. Afterwards write down everything you remember.

Sensory Training: Candle Meditation

Get a candle and place it a few feet from where you intend to sit. Light the candle, dim the lights, and assume a comfortable meditation posture of your choice. Focus your concentration on the flame. Notice its size, colors, and movements. Relax your breathing. At varying intervals, take a mental snapshot of the candle and hold it in your mind’s eye as long as possible before returning to the stare. Continue as long as you like.