I have my old smartphone with me, with the old sim card still inside. When I received that phone 4 years ago, it was locked by my cell phone company. However, I am not using it at the present moment, since I got a newer cell phone (with a new sim card) with the same company.

I turned off the wifi on the old cell phone; also, it is not on the network anymore since my number was transferred onto the new cell phone. So, is it possible for my company to actually access data since it was a locked phone?

For example, if I took a video with my old cell phone, would the company (or anyone else) have any way of tracking or getting a hold of my videos (among other things)? In other words, could anyone ever get a hold of the content of my old cell phone remotely?

1 Answer 1


Generally speaking your cell provider can access data that flows over their network, but not things that only live on your devices.

Probably the most likely breach of this principle is that most people buy their cell phones from their providers (and receive updates from them as well), which means their providers have control over the root-level software installed on the phone. That in turn means they can do pretty much anything, although it would certainly be news if they were found to be exfiltrating users' files without their permission.

  • Cool. In this case, I am speaking about a phone that isn't on the network anymore. So in this case, I assume it would be impossible for them to look at my files even if they wanted, correct?
    – user54600
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 15:25
  • Does it still connect to a network? If it can get to the internet somehow, then it's entirely possible (although not necessarily likely) that there could be a process running on your phone that gathers up files and sends them to a remote server. That's basically what Google Photos does, for instance. Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 19:21
  • No, it's not connected to a network. Also, I disabled the wifi so that it cannot connect by itself via wifi. I just figured that since it was a cell phone that was initially connected to the network until a few months ago, maybe they had a way of re-connecting to it without my consent or knowledge.
    – user54600
    Commented Aug 2, 2017 at 19:39

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