Track me to the Islands then, I may never come back

I've been telling you this for years, and it's not like you can do much about it, but I just want you to know: the iPhone and other mobile devices are tracking where you’ve been. Two data scientists revealed that iPhones, iPads, and iTouches track their owners’ GPS locations, store their movements for up to a year, and stream this information back to Apple.


If you have an iPhone or other Apple mobile device, your every move is being tracked and recorded, said Nathan Goulding in NationalReview.com. Two data scientists triggered a new privacy firestorm last week by revealing that “without your consent or any warning labels,” iPhones, iPads, and iTouches track their owners’ GPS locations, store their movements for up to a year, and stream this “geodata” back to Apple.

These devices are creating records of unprecedented scope and detail, said Alexis Madrigal in TheAtlantic.com. “Even searching a suspect’s house could never yield a full inventory of that person’s friends and acquaintances, the entire record of their voice and text communications—and all the Web pages he’d ever looked at.” Now Apple—and cops, prosecutors, divorce lawyers, or anyone who gets your cell phone—“can have all of that in two minutes.”

“Ooh, big brother is watching,” said David Pogue in The New York Times. Frankly, “who cares if anyone knows where I’ve been?” Banks, credit card companies, online marketers, and phone companies are already collecting vast amounts of information on all of us. Indeed, cell phone companies track our movements, too; the only difference is that the information is stored on their computers, not on your cell phone. And Apple’s not “the only big bad villain here.” Google’s Android phones, along with BlackBerries, Palms, and most other smartphones, are tracking our movements, with varying degrees of thoroughness and transparency.

If you think there are any laws against this, said Jordan Robertson in the Associated Press, “think again.” Phone companies can’t share information obtained from your cell without your consent, but the government hasn’t gotten around to hardware and software makers like Apple and Google. Of course, all makers of “spyphones” have their excuses for snooping. They claim that mining data about our whereabouts will be good for us, because it will allow them to identify “Wi-Fi hot spots” and create services to fit our needs, including advertising aimed at reaching us when we’re near a particular store.

Sadly, most people will accept this latest intrusion with “a weary yawn,” said John Naughton in the London Observer. “Technological fatalism” has set in. Scott McNealy, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, once said, “You have zero privacy. Get over it.” A decade later, “it looks like he was right.” - As seen in The Week

See also: fingerprint, digital footprint
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1 comments:
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4:41 AM  

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