The Valuable Bits On Your Cell Phone That Everybody Wants

I track on which digital resources are valuable. Products, contacts, messages, compute, images, video, and the other valuable bits that are being moved around, and bought and sold via the Internet. I'm always trying to understand what is valuable to developers, platform operators, investors, and even the police and government agencies. 

I was reading a post on how Denver police are using Cellebrite, a solution for accessing cell phones, and an OCR image from the story had a list of bullet points regarding Cellebrite's functionality, which I think provides a nice snapshot of what data is valuable on your cell phone currently. They are looking for the following bits:

  • Device ID - The unique identification of your device.
  • Address Book - The names, and information for your contacts.
  • Phone Call - The details of every call you have made.
  • Emails - All of the emails you sent and received.
  • Messages - Your text and images messaging and SMS.
  • Videos - All of the videos you have watched and created.
  • Photos - All of the photos you have watched and created.
  • Audio - Any podcast you've listened to and audio file created.
  • Location - The history of where you have been with GPS.
  • Social - Your social messages and connections for used networks.
  • Password - The code you use to get into your device.
  • Wifi - The networks you have connected to with your device.

It provides a pretty nice snapshot of what is valued in today's digital world. These are the essential bits of all of our lives, and everyone is working overtime to get their hands on them. It's not just the government, every single company doing business online wants to get at these bits, connect the dots, and make money from them. Law enforcement is interested in the same bits, just for very different reasons--they have a very different business model than the startups, but they both have a shared desire.

How free we are in the future is going to come down to how much control we have over our bits. Everyone wants them. The government, hedge funds, venture capitalists, hackers. I think the last one wifi, or our network, is the canary in the coal mine. The current tone being set by the FCC, and Trump administration, is the sign that things will begin to get much more toxic. Even beyond the Silicon Valley operated, cyber(in)secure world we find ourselves operating in currently--hang on to your bits, it is going to be a wild ride!