LocationGate – its not the fact, but the attitude that worries

Let’s not kid ourselves – of course App and platform providers will try to find out as much as they can about us – what we do, what our preferences are etc. Google and Facebook have been doing it for years – scanning our mails and our search pattern in order to “serve us” better.  That’s the price you pay for “free” email, “free” storage for your pictures and documents.  If  you want to live with that – your service provider knowing everything about you – that’s fine. Since neither Google nor Facebook is trying to hide the fact that they are doing data mining, maintaining an image of “not being evil” is important.

However, Apples response to worried customers about Apple collecting location data in iPhones  is different:

Providing mobile users with fast and accurate location information while preserving their security and privacy has raised some very complex technical issues which are hard to communicate in a soundbite. Users are confused, partly because the creators of this new technology (including Apple) have not provided enough education about these issues to date.”

Orwellian vibes all over: “Big Brother” is talking. First a denial that there is a problem, then a rather condescending note on that iPhone users are stupid and need to be educated (to understand what is good for them?) Later in the response the location data collection is referred to as a bug – the same thing that was referred to as a feature in Apple patents.

Anyhow, its not the fact that location data are collected that is worrying here -it’s how dominant market player manage the trust of their tribe .. sorry .. customers.

Read more in this interesting article  on  Apples “denial” policy

About Jens Zander

Professor Jens Zander is professor in Radio Communication Systems at the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. He has been among the few in Swedens Ny Teknik magazine's annual list of influential people in ICT that have been given the epithet “Mobile Guru”. He is one of the leading researchers in mobile communication and is the Scientific director of the industry/academia collaboration center Wireless@KTH. His research group focuses on three main areas – the efficient and scalable use of the radio frequency spectrum, economic aspects of mobile systems and application and energy efficiency in future wireless infrastructures.
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