Saturday, December 3, 2011

Your smart phone is watching you

Your iPhone (or similar device) is “anonymously” tracking virtually everything you do with it, according to Slate (and a host of other folks looking into the matter). That means, as Farhad Manjoo writes, "It can see the apps you use, the sites you visit, your physical location, and it can even log your individual keystrokes, which means that it can read your text messages and passwords." Welcome to the 21st century version of Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four." Well, sort of. Although the potential for malice (now or in the future) certainly exists, the phone manufacturers and carriers say they use this information to enhance your "mobile experience." The ability of your iPhone to quickly find itself on a Google map, for example, is one benefit. The dystopian dimension to all of this is probably unavoidable as new technology pulls us into yet another Brave New World. We have indeed lost a measure of absolute privacy. Still, I'm not ready to go all paranoid just yet. As Manjoo noted, technology writer David Pogue puts things into a healthier perspective: “Yes, Big Brother is watching you," he says. "And you know what? I’ll bet he’s bored to tears.”

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