View Full Version : Pre Privacy Issues
08-13-2009, 08:41 AM
Is anyone else worried about what this article describes? That Palm backs up everything from your device to its servers every day, that your device reports all apps run and your location (though you can apparently shut at least part of the latter down)?
I've been pretty stoked to get one of these things once they hit Verizon, but I am also beginning to have second thoughts about the method of making some of the "magic" possible and the reliance on the cloud.
Let me state: I do not like the Cloud. Or, at least, I do not want to be forced to store any personal information in the Cloud. It's great to access other information that people choose to make available, but that's the point--you have to be able to choose. If there's not choice there may be no Pre (or anything else that behaves the same way).
OK, I know that all cellular devices can be used to track location, and the privacy is in many ways becoming a dead letter, but that doesn't mean I have to throw my kimono open to the universe. I want more control of what can be seen and what cannot be seen. The Pre may make too much visible in ways I cannot control.
I do not need to automatically access four pushed, merged, e-mail accounts the data for which is stored on someone else's server. I want them to be stored on my machine and deleted from the server (or at least on a desktop device with lots of storage, I can live with a handheld doing read-only) and I want to access this stuff when I click a button. Goodness, I'm not THAT lazy...
Anyway, what does anyone think about these issues and does anyone know how any of the other most popular smart devices (iPhone, Blackberry, Google) behave?
08-13-2009, 09:34 AM
I have not been a fan of the Pre but this is just another reason to stay away from it.
You make some excellent points and I agree with them.
I have a dumb phone and a pda as I like to keep them separate and this is just another reason for doing that.
They try to bury this in their fine print and then when it gets to be known and posted on the net, the language I read indicates they have a lot of options and ways to use this information they gather from each user.
This should be mentioned to each customer prior to buying and there should be an opt out for those concerned where and how this information is used.
For me, I have nothing to hide but I also do not know how this information is used and I just do not need to have my information out there for everyone to have access to it.
It is about control and the customer keeping some of the control of where and how their information is used.
I am posting this about the Pre but it goes for any company that does this.
08-13-2009, 10:57 AM
I use my devices in the same way, Harpgliss. :)
08-13-2009, 12:54 PM
Any cell company can track you down. That's how police can search you (with the cell company assistance).
As it's said by Palm, they just need statistics on usage: where people (not an individual) are at a certain time. Cell companies use it to know where they need to upgrade towers/antennas, to know what services to be offered depending on location and concentration of users, etc.
They can also monitor programs, not to nuke your homebrew, but just to know what kind of applications are the most popular in order to know what to offer.
Any other cell provider or manufacturer can track you if they want. I can't see a reason why would they want to search you (or anyone) unless you are doing something illegal (police can ask the company for your location) or cheating your wife (I doubt Sprint will please a jealous wife :D).
Someone posted this comment at PreCentral and it's very accurate:
"Not a huge deal. Sprint knows where you are, who you call and how long you talk. Your credit card company(s) know what you buy, when and where. Your cable/satellite company knows what pay-per-view channels/programs you watch. Your ISP knows what sites you visit. If you have fast pass/ez pass/whatever electronic toll payment system have, that company/entity knows everytime you go through said tolls. I could go on, but I think you get my point. We have little, if any, privacy. This should not come as a shock to anyone."
People tend to read, retain and remember the negative aspects.
But, you can opt out:
Launcher >> Location Services >> Background Data Collection >> Off
Note: you can't get out from tower triangulation as the cell providers can do (if they wish). :)
08-13-2009, 02:38 PM
This is not about Sprint doing this, it is about Palm gathering this kind of information and not making customers aware before they buy.
Customers are entitled to know how their personal information is being used and be able to opt out.
They give enough freedom and control already.
Companies need to be transparent on subjects such as this and they are just a bunch of sneaks hiding behind vague language and small print that no one at the store ever allows the customer to read before completing the sale.
Same kind of crap that people go after Apple for and everyone wants to give Palm a pass as they are the underdog.
No frikkin' way.
I understand people wanting Palm to succeed but they do not get free passes for being the underdog.
Just because you have nothing to hide does not qualify as a reason for giving up control or freedom of choice.
My solution to this is above and I do not have to sacrifice my freedom or control of my information with it.
Just my opinion and I am not meaning to p*ss anyone off or cause their underwear to bunch.
No foil hats here either, just careful when and how my personal information is disseminated.
08-14-2009, 09:22 AM
well - this topic has always been an issue (remember back in 1999, when intel had to admit that they put serial numbers on chips for notebooks, too?).
what gets me though is that the most dumb argument in the world - "not a big deal, if you have nothing to hide, what are you worrying about?" - ist still alive, since it has been long revealed as what it is - dumb.
you can NOT compare active searching for a personīs whereabouts doing a triangular search with constantly sending location data.
you can NOT compare information on facebook - which I decide to put there or not - with the uncontrolled, mostly even unknown constant flow of information.
in a world where everything gets even more digitalized and "visible" itīs even more important to be sensible to oneīs data, to where it is and who uses it for what reason. recent history lets you know some facts - data IS collected, and when favorable, it IS used. most of the time itīs going to be used for purposes you couldnīt even imagine at the time you let hold of your data. ever thought that one time the IRS could have providers hand over your location tracks just to be able to check on your driverīs log?
once your data is saved somewhere, itīs not up to you to decide what is going to happen with it. thatīs why I personally would like to have the complete control over what data gets where and to whom. thatīs why I am never going to use google calendar or web contacts databases. Iīd suppose, thereīs a lot of professions that arenīt even allowed to use something like this - i.e. lawyers, doctors, priests.
and are you sure that this little button REALLY gets rid of the E.T.-behaviour? are you sure thereīs no way to remotely enable that little button? I didnīt think the last apple-show was going to get forgotten that fast - they really showed you what you are, which is by far not what you consider yourself to be.
and letīs not forget that apple started doing this stuff.
08-14-2009, 02:13 PM
Number one thing to hide is your identity.
Identity theft is on the rise, especially with the economy the way it is.
For me, this is enough of a reason to be outraged at this kind of stuff.
This kind of stuff has been going on for years in one fashion or another, long before Apple and the Iphone.
Does not matter the company, everyone should be upset as the risk of abuse should not be one you are willing to take.
You protect your family, protect your identity too.
08-15-2009, 02:54 AM
This was posted over at Prethinking:
Is an ID attached to the data that is being send?
I did not see one, but I have not looked at the traffic sent over the wire; an ID could be sent at connection time. Also, the data is sent to the same server that the Pre uses to back up your personal data (if that is enabled).
Will turning off "Background Data Collection" From the Location Services Utility, stop the data Collection?
No, I have had that turned off since the first day, doesn't help.
Turning off the GPS entirely on the same screen is reported to stop GPS data collection, though the other data is still sent. Of course, completly disabling the GPS cripples other features.
So data collection is still happening.
The information comes from Joey Hess, who discovered this was going on.
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