They’re Watching You
Well, this really isn’t a surprise:
Apple Inc.’s iPhones and Google Inc.’s Android smartphones regularly transmit their locations back to Apple and Google, respectively, according to data and documents analyzed by The Wall Street Journal—intensifying concerns over privacy and the widening trade in personal data.
Google and Apple are gathering location information as part of their race to build massive databases capable of pinpointing people’s locations via their cellphones. These databases could help them tap the $2.9 billion market for location-based services—expected to rise to $8.3 billion in 2014, according to research firm Gartner Inc.
It’s been a goal of such companies for years to move these devices to the point of eliminating the distance between impulse and purchase. Whether that represents convenience or manipulation is a matter of opinion. Personally, I think a little such distance is an important aspect of self-control, and if devices get to the point of continually placing unrequested items into your awareness, that could be very disruptive. One can only hope that consumers will recognize as much and push back… probably by creating demand for somebody else to create an application that blocks the intrusions.
This is just one of those aspects of technology that we’re going to have to learn to deal with. What’s disconcerting, as a number of action and conspiracy movies from the past decade prove, is the interconnectivity of everything and the impossibility of expecting the average person to have any idea what to look for to safeguard privacy. Hopefully a new market for consultants will open up, rather than a new opportunity for government to regulate and manipulate for itself.