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Myths Debunked: Traceability of eSIMs

Can eSIMs be tracked?

· 2 min read

In today's digital age, the concept of privacy has become increasingly important. As our lives become more intertwined with technology, questions about the security and anonymity of our online activities have grown more pressing. One such concern revolves around eSIM (embedded SIM) technology and whether the use of eSIMs makes you more susceptible to being tracked.

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Understanding eSIM Technology

eSIM, or embedded SIM, is a relatively new technology that aims to replace traditional physical SIM cards in mobile devices. Instead of inserting a physical card into your phone, eSIMs are built directly into the device's hardware and can be programmed with the necessary information to connect to a mobile network. This technology offers several advantages, including the ability to switch carriers without needing a new physical SIM card, enhanced security, and space savings within the device.

Dispelling the Myths

If you are new to the world of eSIMs, you might have some concerns about whether the use of eSIMs will make you more 'trackable'. Let's take a look at some of the myths surrounding the traceability of eSIMs.

Myth 1: eSIMs are more trackable than physical SIM cards.

Reality: We'd be lying if we said eSIMs can't be tracked; because they can. But, that is no different from the use of physical SIM cards. As long as you are connected to a mobile network, you can be tracked some way or another. eSIMs and physical SIM cards share similar characteristics when it comes to tracking. Both can be tracked by mobile network operators for legitimate purposes, such as providing services, maintaining network integrity, and complying with legal requirements.

Myth 2: eSIMs are immune to tracking.

Reality: The truth is, so long you are connected to a network, you will never really be immune to tracking. eSIMs are not immune to tracking, but they are not inherently more trackable than physical SIM cards. The tracking of mobile devices is primarily done through the device's unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, not the SIM card type. eSIMs may offer some additional security features, such as remote management, but they are not a silver bullet against tracking.

Reality: eSIMs, like physical SIM cards, require user consent and authentication to be activated and associated with a mobile network. Unauthorized tracking or activation would be illegal and a breach of privacy regulations in most jurisdictions.

Mobile Devices and Tracking

By themselves, eSIMs do not exactly enable tracking. But, they are still associated with mobile devices that can be tracked through various means:

  1. IMEI Tracking: As mentioned earlier, every mobile device has a unique IMEI number that can be used to track it. This tracking method is not dependent on the type of SIM card used.
  2. Location Services: Most mobile devices have location services that can be enabled or disabled by the user. These services, when active, can provide your location to various apps and services.
  3. Cellular Network Data: Mobile network operators can track the location of your device as it connects to their network, regardless of the type of SIM card.
  4. Apps and Services: Many apps and services request location information for legitimate purposes, such as navigation, weather, and social media. Users have control over whether they grant permission for these apps to access their location.

Protecting Your Privacy

To protect your privacy in cyberspace - whether you are using an eSIM-equipped device or not - consider the following steps:

  1. Review App Permissions: Regularly review and manage app permissions, particularly those related to location services, to ensure that you only grant access to trusted apps.
  2. Use a VPN: A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can help mask your IP address and encrypt your internet traffic, enhancing your online privacy.
  3. Disable Location Services: Turn off location services when you don't need them, and use them judiciously.
  4. Make Conscious Decisions on What Is Shared: Understand the privacy policies of apps and services you use, and make conscious decisions of what personal information you share online - anything that is uploaded online can be tracked.
  5. Clear Browsing History if You Use Shared Computers: If you will be using a shared or public computer, it is recommended to use an incognito mode so that any browsing history or cookies are not stored. If it is not possible to browse in incognito, remember to log out of all your accounts, clear browsing history, and delete cookies after you are done. It is recommended not to use public computers to carry out sensitive transactions.