• Did You Know Your Apple iPhone and Google Android Are Tracking You?

    April 23, 2011 3:21 pm 60 comments
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  • Your Google Android and/or Apple iPhone is keeping tabs on your every movement, then reporting your position back to corporate servers where a profile of where you tend to shop, eat, leave businesses and return home is permanently stored on servers

    Every day, you wake up to roll out of bed. You kiss your wife or husband, throw on some clothes and walk to your bathroom. On the way, you turn on your cell phone and 45 minutes take off out the front door.

    At this moment, thousands of miles above your head, a satellite starts receiving messages. They are coming from your cell phone. The satellite sends these messages to a huge company, named Google or Apple. Within these companies, are powerful computers and servers, which track you as a little dot on an entire map of the world. It’s like GPS system, with the phone as your GPS and you as the vehicle. Using mapping software, these computers track your exact longitude and latitude coordinates, taking time to document when and where you exist addresses, stop, places of business and other private matters. These coordinates and locations are then permanently stored on their computers, where the data can be mined to know your general day-to-day activities, places you frequent and potentially, one day, sold to a third party.

    The Wall Street Journal is asking why?

    While many people may request that their phone track location, due to applications on the phones themselves or for websites like Facebook or Twiteter needing the coordinates to ‘update’ everyone on an exact location announcement, we see that all is not innocent.  When you feel the urge to update your friends, “Douche McDoucheyupdates is checking in at Starbucks via 4Square” via an iPhone, that critical update to tell your friends your about to order an iced frapacino experience is costing your privacy.
    That update, along with normal pings from your phone, is helping Google and Apple fine tune a map of your day to day life.  Why are they permanently collecting this data?  It is worth billions.
    Congressional leaders were informed of this new tracking, or treking, software and are very alarmed.
    On Wednesday, United States House Rep. Markey sent a follow-up letter to Apple
    asking why the company is storing customer-location data on its phones.
    “Apple needs to safeguard the personal location information of its users to
    ensure that an iPhone doesn’t become an iTrack,” Rep. Markey said in a
    statement.
    The more data companies can collect about you, the more potential revenue.  Targeted ads based upon your visit locations, time your leave from home and work and shopping/eating habits represent a goldmine of advertising data, based on your life.  What would McDonalds give to know what time you usually pass their restaurants or pick the kids up from school on a day with a higher traffic/visit/shopping frequency for you?  Would they build a nationwide advertising campaign based upon high traffic hours for parents traveling with children?
    This new type of data mining has dangerous implications.  There is a reason that no one knows the exact routes and schedule for prominent public figures.  Does the fact that any and every stranger on Earth can have access to your work and shopping schedule raise a problem for you?  A random person could find your data by hacking into your phone or a company’s servers, then know when your husband will be away from home.  Or maybe your children home alone, based upon when your phone arrives home and theirs as well.
    It’s little things like this that provide a very big problem.  Maybe you don’t want big government knowing your routine either.  This is a growing problem and something you must keep track of, because as you know, this type of technology and its abilities are growing exponentially.
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    About The Author
    Bren Langford Born and raised in SoCal, Bren Langford is currently a student, lifeguard and lifestyle editor for ChristWire Campus Weekly.

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