If the Shoe Fits…

When I saw this on Drudge I thought the picture was related to the story, when in fact it was attached to a story about North Korea. There is something Orwellian about any mobile service that enables detailed information sharing with advertisers.. if a carrier wants to offer a free version of their service that linked to advertisers and behavior tracking, great but the fact remains that I pay a monthly service fee for my mobile phone service and I should not have to be subjected to intrusive behavior tracking.

The story is very clear that the tracking is related to web browsing and installed apps, so in many ways it is like what happens with cookies on the desktop web and there isn’t much of controversy about cookies anymore. The critical difference is that cookies don’t also report back what files I open or who I email, or at least it would be considered a gross violation of accepted practices to do so. What handset manufacturers and carriers are enabling is precisely such a violation by allowing apps to report to advertisers, for example, GPS coordinates.

This has the potential to be very troubling, but like many privacy issues I will reserve final judgement based on actual implementation details.

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