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Interesting round-up, I have to pipe in about the Iphone location tracking story. If you were to give people a choice between giving up their smartphones or continue using them knowing it collects and stores location data, I’ll bet anything that the vast majority will choose to continue using their phones accepting the fact it tracks their movement. In the battle between privacy and convenience, convenience wins every time.
Remember a couple years back when everybody was concerned about corporations keeping track of what websites you visit by using tracking cookies? The news eventually died down and people now are either unaware or unconcerned about tracking cookies. Tracking of your web habits and serving up targeted ads are now an integral part of Google’s and other online advertising companies’ revenue streams. Nothing has really changed since the initial news stories – the vast majority of Internet users simply accepted tracking cookies as a fact of life and moved on.
Now with the proliferation of location aware devices the same companies decided to expand their tracking capabilities to include your geographic location along with your browsing habits. You can’t really blame them – they’ve all seen how the tracking cookies issue played out and they’re correctly predicting that this location recording fiasco will play out the same way.
Thank you for the thoughtful response, Alex. David Pogue of the NYT wrote an article in a similar vein as your comment , that elaborates further on this topic: http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/21/your-iphone-is-tracking-you-so-what/
It is true that a lot of personal information is collected by many companies, and has been collected for years. Convenience has certainly trumped privacy in many cases. It will be interesting to see how this (and hot topics like electronic medical records) plays out over time!
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