Millions of Spaniards are being tracked on their mobile phones this week as part of a controversial government study designed to gather information about where citizens are traveling and when in order to “improve public services.”

The National Statistics Institute (INE) has assured people that the eight-day project is completely “anonymous” — but that hasn’t stopped concerns being raised over the ‘spy state’ and ‘big brother’ style privacy issues.

Spain’s three largest mobile phone operators — Movistar, Vodafone and Orange — are taking part in the project, and insist they are not breaking the law by handing the data over to the government. The three companies account for almost 80 percent of mobile users in Spain.

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