MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota was awarded an “A” grade for social distancing Tuesday.

The letter grade came the website Unacast. They claim Minnesotans have cut down on how much they travel by about 45% and determined this data by tracking our cellphones.

Mark Lanterman was formerly in the United States Secret Service Electronic Crimes Task Force, and is now the CTO of Computer Forensic Services in Minneapolis. He says Unacast bought our data from apps we have on our phones already.

“Most app developers make more money selling our personal information than they do from selling us a 99 cent app,” Lanterman said. “We should make sure that we’re actually reading the small print when we are installing apps on our devices.”

Lanterman says the most common data from our phones that gets sold is our active, real-time location. Unacast had access to location data that was so specific, it tracked the latitude, longitude and altitude of the people whose data they purchased.

“It is active location information. So if you decide to get in a car and drive downtown, there’s a record of that. If you’re parked on the fifth floor of a parking ramp, they know you’re on the fifth floor of the parking ramp, so very specific and it’s in real time,” Lanterman said.

Unacast won’t say what apps they purchased from, but Lanterman says it’s likely most of us have them on our phones.

“Without question, these are some of the most popular applications on the app store,” Lanterman said. “Whenever we gain convenience from technology, we always give up a little bit of security.”

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Marielle Mohs

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