How often do you hand out your cellphone number? Is it linked to your social media? Do you link it to apps that require a 2 step authorization? How often do you give your cell phone on applications for loans or purchases such as a rewards program at the grocery store?
Now, imagine for a moment that this information (the cell phone number) is directly linked to your identity. You use it and update it with almost every aspect of life that is relevant to you. However, unlike the social security number, this information doesn't have to be protected by law. Thats right, let that sink in for a minute. We don't protect our cell phone number like we do our social security number.
Companies use information like this in data aggregate software to track your buying habits down to the point they know exactly whats happening in your life based off of purchasing habits. Ever get those convenient coupons in the mail you think everyone else in the neighborhood is getting? Think again. Those are customized as per your recorded buying habits and sandwiched in between other less attractive coupons as to not alarm you to their tracking.
Well... that doesn't seem that bad does it? Since you tie your cell phone to everything you do. It makes it incredibly easy for an investigator to track you down by cell phone over a social security number.
Just like the social security number which was never intended to be a general purpose identification number. The cell number has rapidly become an accurate new age standard in identifying individuals. It makes it incredibly easy for computer systems to aggregate large sums of information on people without them knowing. It does have some benefits though such as the ability to utilize two factor authorization which requires the user to have possession of their phone to identify who they are for particular transactions. This is a plus over a social security number which is a straight line to identity theft.
What blows my mind is that most people seem to think that because you own a cell phone you seem to think you have all the privacy rights entitled to you. What you do not realize is that once you decided to buy a communication device with a private company and send information through cell phone towers all over the world, that technically you gave up your right to privacy. I do not agree with this, but it hasn't been around long enough for laws to have been developed to protect us yet. A huge battle on the boundaries of our privacy still continues. I wouldn't put my faith in another entity holding onto my private information.
For those looking for an alternative phone line. I would try Google Voice which can be installed for free or another sideline app.