Personal Whereabouts Trace

Many of us are aware that our mobile phones and other devices tell others where we go. This location information can paint a surprisingly full picture of who we are and what our lives look like.


This is why privacy concerns have arisen around personal whereabouts tracing. This type of big data analysis involves using location information to track people and determine their contacts.

Identifying the Person

Our devices – computers, phones and tablets – are constantly telling others where we are. Combine that with publicly-available addresses, tweets and photos and it’s possible to build a full picture of who we are and what our lives look like.

If you suspect you are being tracked, document everything. Take notes of when and where you think the person is following you. Make sure to write down the name of the person, including their birth and married names, nicknames, and any other identifiers that may be relevant. Identify any known business or professional connections that can help you trace the person. Search for the person on Internet search engines to see if their name is attached to blogs, social networks, professional websites or special interest groups.

Process servers sometimes use skip tracing services to locate people who are evading service of process. This can be a cost-effective way to track an individual without having to pay for a private investigator. Just be sure that you understand the fees upfront so that there are no surprises down the line. Some companies charge per hour, some by the day and some on a retainer basis. Some also have additional fees for travel time, urgency and accommodation costs.

Identifying the Location

The deepest privacy threat from mobile devices is that they announce our location all day and night through the signals they broadcast. The location information they share can tell a surprisingly full story about our lives. Combined with publicly-available address information, social media posts, and phone records, it can reveal a lot about our beliefs, activities, and relationships.

It’s easy for people to track where a person is, and they don’t need special skills or equipment. Many phones, especially iPhones, have GPS built in. GPS tracks a person’s location through satellite signals and provides the precise location of a cell phone to anyone who can connect to the internet. Likewise, most cell phones can be tracked through the wireless network by swapping SIM cards between different devices or even just turning them on and using a WiFi connection.

Smartphones can also be tracked by the device’s MAC address, which is unique to every device. This is used to identify which device is being used, and can be combined with other data such as the time zone to determine a person’s location. This data can be collected by a range of services such as Loopt, Venti Coffee, and Njection.

Other devices like GPS trackers can be added to cars, personal belongings, and children’s toys to monitor their locations. Spyware, such as stalkerware, can also be installed on smartphones and other devices to track them without the user’s knowledge.

Identifying the People

If you suspect that you are being tracked by someone, document what has happened. Take photos, screenshots or video if possible. You might also want to consider getting an investigator to conduct a Personal whereabouts trace. They can help you uncover hidden tracking devices in your vehicle, clothing or possessions and even on your phone.

Many people don’t realize that their locations are being sold to third parties. This can include government agencies and employers who track their employees’ location data from work-issued phones. Location tracking information can be combined with other sensitive online activity and hard identifiers (real names, home addresses, work locations) to make it very easy for someone to identify who you are.

Try to find out as much as you can about the person you’re tracking, including their full name and nicknames. Search their names on Internet search engines to see if they are linked to any family, friends or known business associates who may be able to provide clues as to their current whereabouts. Also, look for information on social media sites and blogs that the person frequents.

Identifying the Problem

If you believe someone is tracking your location, it’s important to document the situation. It can help law enforcement or a lawyer make decisions about how to respond to the abuse. Documenting can also help you create a safety plan or update one if necessary. Documenting can include things like what kinds of technology they are using, what they’ve done to track your location, and when they started doing it.

Remember that even if you set your social media to maximum security settings, a skilled hacker can still access your location data. If possible, avoid sharing scheduling information like your commute in a public forum.