Friday, September 13, 2013

Helping the NSA with your location

There is a long-held worry that smartphones can be used by government to track the locations and habits of Americans. Apparently, if this is so, Americans are willing to be help that process.
Many people use their smartphones to navigate the world: 74% of adult smartphone owners ages 18 and older say they use their phone to get directions or other information based on their current location.

There is notable growth in the number of social media users who are now setting their accounts to include location in their posts.

In a time when the NSA has been accused of spying on people in the United States in a way that exceeds it court-approved mandate, it may not be too paranoid to wonder what else the federal government would like to know, and what it can know.

Location-based phone data already is used commercially, which means it could be used otherwise. Businesses push data to smartphones based on location. Many retailers like Nordstrom use data from smartphones when their owners walk the aisles of their stores. These retailers almost certainly do not employ technology superior to that of the federal government.