privacy

Google Maps

Over the years Google Maps has pretty much become the default mapping app that most folks use these days. So too, have I become accustomed to the process of using Google Maps. Let’s face it, compared to the other processes, they do have a smoother interaction and usually, superior results.

As of a year or so ago from the date of this post, if you ever set Google Maps to open at a location of your choosing, all you had to do was use that “gear” icon in the lower right corner of the map, and use the options to set your default location.

Once I did that, it was a very awesome experience.

Let’s cut to today, when all the rage and business focus is tapping into your exact location for purposes of advertising to you, and focusing those ads from businesses as close to your location as possible. And that ‘gear’ logo is gone, as is the old way of being able to freely choose how Google gets your location from you.

Or in Google-speak, they’ve made it user friendly and more accommodating to our purchasing needs. Or some such rhetoric.

Over the last several months (at least) I noticed that my Maps no longer opened to the location I set it to.

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Facebook Logo

Facebook has been promulgating the fact that they will be enacting new “terms of service (ToS) and conditions” starting on January 1st, 2015.

Happy New Year!  All you have to do to agree to the new terms is to continue using the site.

Despite the fact that I suspect they could already do this, it seems the new Facebook ToS includes a new feature to track your location, and if you look at subscriber numbers that means tracking 1.3 billion users. If you think about it, that is a lot of computing power to track your footprints.

Let’s be honest too, in the premise that this will work because 99.99% of all Facebook users would rather agree to the new (or any) TOS and sign away some privacy rights than get kicked off. Some of that is laziness on the part of the users who don’t care as long as they get what they want, and the other part is how our lives are already so deeply entrenched in the site, is it not? And that’s what FB banks on!  Lazy and hooked.

This new policy of tracking users supposedly gives more control to the user also, whereas you might have the ability to go into your profile and control what Facebook does with your online activity. On the other hand there will also be some features that provide location info on (and to) your friends. Their other sales pitch for our acceptance is that some of the new features will magically improve the battery life on your cell phone and help in signal strength.

The real trick behind the move, because face it, giving you more of what you want is not what sells ad space on FB, is about knowing where you are so that the ads you see are better targeted to you, or, targeted to your location. That means that as you might be driving be an REI, you might get an ad from REI promulgating their sale prices.

So if you want your buddies to track you, that’s fine. Being as how that is an option. But this also helps the advertisers track you.

Now before you get stir crazy about the following, remember, Google has been doing this to you for a very long time via your smartphones while your desktop and laptop computers have been doing things like this for an even longer time via cookies. Little benign text files saying, yes, I was visiting this and that site. Those cookies can also be read by other applications to tell or hint to them your probable likes and dislikes.

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Facebook Does Provide Methods to Protect Your Copyright Material, But..

November 26, 2012

Facebook Copyright “Hoax” OK gang, hoax or misconstrued hopes, I am chiming in on the copyright/infringement issues where Facebook users are posting comments to their own feeds about the website’s limitations on “your own content.”  I chimed in on this a few days just before this entire thing went hoax/viral. First off, I completely understand […]

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Some Website Facebook Apps are Pretty Annoying [An Observation]

June 8, 2012

When I first heard about how the Hollywood Reporter was integrating their site with Facebook and how it will all be very cool, it seemed interesting.  But these days, if you have any concerns about your Facebook privacy, it’s rather disconcerting to click on anything from the site.  (Remember, this is about the app, I’m […]

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Is Your Personal Data Truly Safe on Your Smartphone?

February 20, 2012

I’m sure you’re aware, but if you’re not, today I chat about some smartphone apps uploading personal data, evil QR code or financial apps with tiny flaws…

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Apple Privacy Issue Gets Expensive

August 1, 2011

Apple Privacy Issue Gets Expensive

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Is The Smartphone Privacy Issue Getting Overblown?

April 29, 2011

Is The Smartphone Privacy Issue Getting Overblown?

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Facebook Sharing Your Home Address and Phone Numbers [Consumer]

January 18, 2011

Facebook Sharing Your Home Address and Phone Numbers [Consumer]

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WikiLeaks, A Huge PIA and A Clue that Freedom Of Information Isn’t Always Good!

November 29, 2010

WikiLeaks, A Huge PIA and A Clue that Freedom Of Information Isn’t Always Good!

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