Wednesday07 December 2022

Just How Much Data Does Your Phone Collect and Transmit About You?

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84The explosion of the smart phone tied to the sudden need for people to post where they are and what they are doing every minute of the day has led to some rather interesting consequences. We all have heard the numerous reports of applications that are taking your personal data right off of your phone and then either selling it or using it to push their own applications… which reminds us… what ever happened to all those congressional requests and demands? Anyway getting back to the point we have even heard how one application (now pulled from distribution) used public Facebook profiles combined with check-ins on the Facebook game Four Square to allow almost anyone to stalk nearby women.

Just the amount of data collected about us by our smart phones that we know about is scary and it is very likely that there is much more to this than most consumers will ever guess. I can vividly remember listening to Steve Jobs talk about iAds during one iPhone event. As I listened to him I began to hear an underlying threat; we can use everything you do on this to tailor ads to you. Jobs even made the statement that through HTML5 iAds could serve advertising that the user would not be able to block or avoid. This was right after it was found out that Apple was able to screen shot almost anything that you did on the iPhone with internal tools and also could kill apps on your phone remotely. The level of data mining at the time was very concerning.

Not to ever be topped by Apple the great Ad-Giant Google doctored up Android to do the same if not worse than what we saw with Apple. For Google this means more ad revenue and also more information on the consumer market. All of this allows them to be a better advertising company. The problem is that developers for Android (many of whom also develop for Apple) discovered this (very easily) and are now using for their own benefit. Now you do not just have to worry about the operating system or the carrier, but any and all applications that you install.

Many app developers, Google, Apple and even Microsoft are saying they were not aware of or never intended this to be used in this manner. The problem is that they have pushed this into the OS and have functions like GPS tagging, contact sharing and application integration that are now required just to use your device. If you try to turn off the geolocation feature on many phones a whole host of applications stop working or report errors when launching (including Facebook and Google+).

It is sad that you cannot use many features that you pay for without advertising your position to the world any more. When I post on Facebook no one needs to know where I am. If I want them to know that I will actually post it.

It is about time that companies like Google, Apple and Microsoft give the users of these devices the choice to turn these features on or off per application. I should be able to use my GPU for navigation without it tagging my pictures or telling Facebook where I am, or any number of things that our phones are designed to collect. It is also time that application developers, phone manufacturers, and service providers are held accountable for the information they collect without authorization. Of course the chances of that happening with the current government structure are very slim… doing that just wouldn’t be profitable or allow the surveillance state that they want.


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Last modified on Thursday, 12 April 2012 22:01

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