Look: I am eager to learn stuff I don't know--which requires actively courting and posting smart disagreement.

But as you will understand, I don't like to post things that mischaracterize and are aimed to mislead.

-- Brad Delong

Copyright Notice

Everything that appears on this blog is the copyrighted property of somebody. Often, but not always, that somebody is me. For things that are not mine, I either have obtained permission, or claim fair use. Feel free to quote me, but attribute, please. My photos and poetry are dear to my heart, and may not be used without permission. Ditto, my other intellectual property, such as charts and graphs. I'm probably willing to share. Let's talk. Violators will be damned for all eternity to the circle of hell populated by Rosanne Barr, Mrs Miller [look her up], and trombonists who are unable play in tune. You cannot possibly imagine the agony. If you have a question, email me: jazzbumpa@gmail.com. I'll answer when I feel like it. Cheers!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What the Hell?!? Friday - "Where the Hell Have You Been ?!?" Edition

Via Krugman, we learn that owners of iPhones and iPads ae leaving a data spoor trail, and it doesn't take a cyber blood hound to track them down.

British researchers who uncovered the hidden file say it logs the phone’s whereabouts for the previous 10 months, and includes a date and time stamp with each location. They also created a program allowing users to upload their data and build a map that researchers termed “remarkably detailed” and iPhone owners called “depressingly accurate.”

Users are non-plussed.

“I find it absolutely outrageous that my phone has been secretly documenting the fact that for nearly the past year, I have been going, basically, nowhere,” said Daphne Coleridge, a receptionist and mother of two in Houston. “This is a map of tedium. Home, school, work, store, home, school, work, store, home… wait… dentist. I stand corrected.”

Some are, quite frankly, minused.

“I value routine, so for me and my wife, it confirms our life is stable,” said Mark Tedeschi, a computer programmer in London. “It shows I usually go to the same places: work, the shops, our flat, and my best mate Dan’s house. I mapped my wife’s iPhone and it’s the same with her: work, the shops, our flat, and my best mate Dan’s house. Day after day, we’re both doing exactly … hang on.”

While it's easy to make light of this, there's a "BIG-BROTHER-IS-WATCHING" aspect to it that I've been worried about since I first read 1984, which was some time around 1964, IIRC.  Others are troubled, as well.

Sharp-eyed readers might notice that I am posting this on Saturday, not Friday. Well, give me break -- I was busy on Friday.

If you want to know where I went, just check my cell phone.

Update (4/25):  In comments, Steve directs us to this link.  Money and power.  Always a lovely combination.


BadTux said...

Note that your cell phone already transmits your location to every cell phone tower in your vicinity (see: E911 requirement, this is required of EVERY CELL PHONE SOLD IN AMERICA), and the Feds don't even need a warrant to get that info from the phone company and use it to track you (see: "PIN exception"). The only difference here is that the information is actually stored on the phone also, which Apple claims is a mistake that they'll fix with their next software update.

- Badtux "Yes, we're tracked" Penguin

Jazzbumpa said...

I'm trying to figure out how I should feel about this. How much difference does it make? Who can get this info? Why would they want to? Is it even worth worrying about? How does it help the Koch Brothers and hurt me?

Leaving trombone tracks

BadTux said...

If someone has your phone, they can jailbreak it and get this information. Otherwise they can't. Well, except for law enforcement, who can *always* get it, but they get it from the phone company -- and can do it for any cell phone sold in America in the past ten years, not just the iPhone.

Why worry about it: It makes it hard to coordinate actions against an oppressive government (see: Iran). On the other hand, there's an app for that (tm).

-- Badtux the Geek Penguin

Steve Bates said...

David Drumm on Jonathan Turley's blog has more recent info. It appears that Apple has decided to turn iPhone users (Android owners are no better off) into the ultimate location-based ad absorbers. Supposedly the info is stripped of identifiers before aggregates of it are sold, but how long will that limitation last?

Jazzbumpa said...

the ultimate location-based ad absorbers.

I guess this shouldn't be a surprise. When privacy comes up against the power of advertising . . .

Just one more step down the road to serfdom.