Geo-location information is data that is gathered through a variety of technologies that is able to accurately pin down the location of an individual, virtually any place in the world. This data is being collected by smart phones, our cars, our web surfing, freeway toll paying systems, child monitor systems, etc. Even Facebook and other social networking systems are able to get in on the action.
Initially, I think many of us find GPS technology ‘cool’. We can get directions, it can save lives, it provides marketing with valuable information to identify their customers' habits and patterns. I have to admit, it is way cool to pull out my phone and type in an address and receive the directions I need right there in the palm of my hand.
There is also a sinister side to this technology. When we begin to consider this information as intellectual property, OUR intellectual property and we begin to realize that these helpful devices and systems are quietly mapping out where we have been and using patterns in our travel, where we might be in the future… well, it starts to become a bit more troubling.
Potentially sinister geo-location stories have recently made the news on a couple of fronts.
Earlier this year, you may have heard stories about how the iPad may be tracking
your whereabouts by storing geo-location data, essentially creating a map of where you and your iPad have been each day. More recently, OnStar, an emergency roadside service that GM provides on many of its newer models, announced that it would begin selling customer geo-location data to third party marketers. Not only will OnStar
be tracking those GM owners that pay for the OnStar services, OnStar will even keep and sell geo-location data of GM owners who have not subscribed to the service. I believe that many people find this sort of use of their location information intrusive, and when you combine this news with the fact that OnStar and General Motors are in part owned by the Federal Government, it might even be a little scary.
You are probably waiting for the geo-location/inContact hook up… No, inContact has not created a GPS based product… yet. I chose geo-location for two reasons. First, I found the stories interesting. These stories affect me and many people I know, and they got me thinking about this ‘everyday technology’ that we use. It really makes you stop and go ‘Hmmmm’. The other reason, is that it emphasizes the important role of security and privacy, hilighting why inContact created a Trust Office. Security and privacy are issues that touch all of us daily, and often in ways that we do not anticipate. The Trust Office was created to assess security and privacy issues as they relate to inContact’s services and ensure that we do anticipate security and privacy issues. These stories about GPS technology, and how it is crossing over into our private lives, serves to remind all of us to be diligent of the technology around us.
Well, it’s time to go, my car just sent my phone a message with direction to my dinner appointment.