Saturday, May 14, 2011

Privacy? What's that? Can I have some?

With the latest privacy debacle involving Google and Apple phones sending out the location of WI-FI hotspots near users, it makes us notice that the line between privacy is now completely blurred. Have we the consumer allowed our privacy to be taken or has it been stolen from us by greedy companies? The answer to that is a two-edged sword.

We the consumer are constantly looking for the newest, shiniest, most trendiest toy, whether it be software or hardware, and this has allowed vendors to take privileges in a way that they might not have taken if we weren't so hungry for it.

I agree that companies should be made much more transparent on the way they operate, but in the long run does the average user actually care? Both these companies said that they had no plans on the using the data besides for location services at this time. At this time? What does that mean? When will they be using it and what for?

These companies realize that we the consumer have short term memories, especially when we see what cool things their new toys can do. We have to look long term here and make them accountable for what they're doing, otherwise we'll continue to give our privacy away zombies looking for the next big thing.

Just because they're not using the data right now in an inappropriate way, this also depends on your definition of inappropriate, we should as the consumer know when our information is being siphoned from our pockets. Having the ability to opt-in to programs like this would be a way to at least notify the consumer of their intentions.

I hope we see some major changes in this process in the near future.

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