Feeling Watched? You Should Be…

Feeling Watched? You Should Be…

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Unless you have not been listening to the news over the last couple of days, you probably know that many cell phone users’ data is being tracked by Apple as we speak. Location and several parameters about your phone are constantly being recorded by the device and sent out to a huge (unencrypted) database, which according to some people, dates back to a few months. Before you all Android fans start laughing at Apple users, you should know that they are not the only ones. As it turns out, after reading an article in the WSJ (Wall Street Journal), which we were pointed to by XDA member Darnell_Chat_TN, Google seems to be doing a similar (if not worse) practice. Both companies are simply trying to play the “no comment” card, simply because they got caught red handed. However, the truth is wide out in the open and at this point both are claiming that they use this information for development purposes only (you know, enhancing data maps, coverage, etc). What many people speculate, and both companies deny, is the fact that location based marketing is a monstrous market which is measured in billions of dollars in annual revenue and we can’t help but to think that we are being used as tools to develop such market. For instance, let’s say that the device records your driving patterns for a period of a month, basically allowing anyone receiving this data to know who you are, where you are, and when you are there. This data can then be sold to merchants (either online or live) to try and market their products to you. Think of you driving by a Starbucks every morning and after a certain time, you start getting SMS, MMS, or even emails about special offers in that one Starbucks that you drive through every morning. And this is benign as this kind of information could potentially be used for other not so “reputable” purposes.

The question that the member made in his thread, and hence why we decided to write about this, is what can we do to stop this? Some of you may say “I never have my GPS turned on”. To this, I say keep telling yourself that. Your GPS can be on without you even noticing, even if you see the toggle switch turned to off (this has been shown by many of our devs over the last few years). Unless you can see the radio waves coming out of your device, there is no way that you can tell. And we didn’t even brush on the fact that your mobile data may be/probably is on the same boat. Scared? We probably should be…

So, going back to the question at hand. Is there anything that can/should be done about it? Please share your thoughts with us.

You can find more information in the original thread.

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Thanks Darnell_Chat_TN for the tip!