Hey, Verizon customers -- ever get tired of having "The Network" following you around everywhere you go? It's such a hassle, especially when you have to use the restroom, or spend some "alone time" with your significant other.
The news was released on Joey Hess' blog. Hess, a programmer, noticed a log file on his Palm prē was being sent to http://ps.palmws.com on a daily basis. Among other things, the log file contained his GPS coordinates (in this case, his home address) in the form of longitude and latitude. This information is derived from the built in GPS common to most cellular telephones on the market today.
In addition to his location, the log file also recorded the name of every application he used, when, and for how long.
Although there has been some speculation that this information is only recorded when the device crashes, Hess has shown that, even though Palm's WebOS makes a record of device crashes, this is supplemental to the daily GPS location, and usage-tracking that is sent to Palm every day. (All of which, for now, he has disabled by hacking a file in the operating system.)
Palm's response to this shocking revelation?
"When you use location based services, we will collect, transmit, maintain, process, and use your location and usage data (including both real time geographic information and information that can be used to approximate location) in order to provide location based and related services, and to enhance your device experience."
This policy specifically addresses use of this data when "provid[ing] location-based and related services". That does not explain why they are collecting and transmitting GPS data as part of a daily log.
Frankly, I have some issues with Palm's right to this data, even if it has been disclosed. Although, arguably, Sprint has to process this data through their network to provide service to it's customers, Palm sells hardware and software, not network service, or even traffic and directions. As an individual who collects and analyzes similar data for criminal cases on a daily basis, I see no justification in Palm's Policy, or in terms of the way the equipment operates, for the transmittal of location-specific data to their company.
Read more @ InformationWeek (http://www.informationweek.com/news/security/privacy/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=219300120)
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