NSA on Limiting Location Data Exposure

The National Security Agency has issued a document about how to mitigate security issues that may arise through use of “location services” and how to mitigate those risks.

Mobile devices determine location through any combination of Global Positioning System (GPS) and wireless signals (e.g., cellular, wireless (Wi-Fi®), or Bluetooth® (BT)). Location data can be extremely valuable and must be protected. It can reveal details about the number of users in a location, user and supply movements, daily routines (user and organizational), and can expose otherwise unknown associations between users and locations.

Key point: Turning off location services does not turn off GPS, and does not significantly reduce the risk of location exposure.
Also, location services is not synonymous with GPS. Even with GPS and cellular data unavailable, a mobile device can calculate location and apps and websites can use sensor data without requesting permission from the user.
And it’s not just your smartphone or tablet. This applies to fitness trackers, smart watches, smart medical devices and other smart and IoT devices as well.

The mitigation measures given by NSA would likely turn your mobile device into a useless brick, so they are unlikely to help the average user much. Still they are worth a read and some can be used by everyone. However, if you want to be sure, leave the device at home! Keep this in mind when an app promises anonymity or data privacy

The full document:

Solar Cycle 25 May Already be Upon Us

The scientific consensus of the NOAA/NSA co-chaired international panel to forecast the new says that the new cycle will peak around July 2025 (+/- 8 months) and will be of average, i.e. moderate, intensity.
The solar minimum may have already occured in April 2020 (+/- 6 months) which seems likely judging by the recent sunspots and acitivity.

However, there are non-consensus opinions that see Solar Cycle 25 will be one of the strongest since records began. A chart from the work of McIntosh, Chapman, Leamon, Egeland and Watkins:

The green dot is the number of sunspots predicted in the consensus view, the blue dot is the number of sunspots their model predicts.