Is The Smartphone Privacy Issue Getting Overblown?

by on April 29, 2011

in consumer

Last week the world discovered that Apple was “tracking” our movements via an unencrypted database file on the iPhone. It didn’t surprise me at all. Our smartphones are just tiny versions of our laptops and desktop computers.

think about it… desktops being replaced by laptops. Now smartphones (headtops?) are slowly replacing laptops. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

But aside from that, once the iPhone issue was discovered, the Google based phones were looked at and sure enough, the same thing was found there.

Now the government is “stepping up” because Apple and Google are ignoring boundaries to collect geographical data to help local advertisers get your attention when you drive by. The feds want to know how much, if consumers have been told, and can consumers turn this function off.

Good questions. I’m betting it’s in the fine print somewhere. Turning it off? Probably not so easy.

I expect we’ll see something that favors the consumer and not the marketing business.

= = =

Now our phones, our smartphones, are not much different than our laptops and desktops. The latter platforms have been collecting data on web surfers since forever, in the form of small files called cookies.

This helps your internet “experience” become more personalized. Or so they say. For me, I get more focused results or ads (in most cases) focused on NASCAR and other entertainment venues. So my ad experience is more focused.

With mobile browsing, I’m not surprised they’re tracking locations. Some of your features are location based. I’ve turned off most of my tracking processes, but when I want to know things like what’s around I kick in my satellite and network parts of my phone back on.

It uses both GPS and nearby networks to figure out where it is. Then, when I do things like sak my phone where “gas stations near my location” are, I get eerily good results.

If I didn’t have all this tracking code crap in my phone, I might not be able to have such a robust experience.

DISCLAIMER: I hate cookies, I hate background applications that lurk behind most websites. My desktop and laptops have a lot of script fighters turned on because I am very opposed to the processes that work in the background.

But with my smartphone, a Motorola Droid X on Verizon, I found myself going through stupid hoops to set my phone up in a similar fashion, but the usefullness of the device becomes limited when I restrict these services.

I Gave Up

With my smartphone, I gave up blocking all the proceses that are trying ot track me. It just is what it is. I like the usefullness of my phone so there be it.

I’ve been defeated to some degree. But still, my phone is pretty cool, though at any one time, if you encounter me, I’m probably running with my network services and GPS turned off until I may actually need their “help.”


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