Today’s Tech: Do I Have Any Privacy?

Thursday, 13 August 2009 at 8:01 am Pacific USA Time.

I'm seeing some posts about how Palm is collecting data on people, and sending it back to Palm. People are losing their minds over this.

Now to me, the main issue is that you can't opt out. People should be able to opt out, but Palm wove it so into their terms and the ability to do anything with the phone that opting out = throw the phone in the garbage.

So now let's look at the idea that Palm or somebody is looking at how I use things or when I do things. And if I'm going to get wrapped up about that, then there are so many other things people can worry themselves over…

  • Hey, former and current AOL users, who used to and may still surf the web inside AOL's world. They know everything about you… every word you typed into a chat room, every pic you downloaded, everything you did online.
  • I use Comcast for internet. Can't they trace and know everything I'm doing? Did you read the agreement that your broadband provider had you sign when they installed it? Yeah, that whole back of the page had a bunch of TINY terms and conditions. Did you read those before signing that you agreed to them?
  • Your bank and credit card company knows everywhere you were and where (and how) you spent money… where you took out cash, where you charged. If anybody starts really looking at your charges, they'll know who you do business with, where you're travelling, what gifts you're buying people, etc… They'd have plenty of data on you.
  • Microsoft. Oh the things they would know from me because I use Windows. Same for Apple if you have a Mac or iPhone. Hey, for all I know, my MP3 player is sending info to Rhapsody. I have no idea, but choose to not get too caught up over it.

So while I like the idea of privacy, I also realise that in today's tech world, I don't have many secrets. Databases get compromised all the time, unfortunately, so you can only just try to protect yourself. Read your credit report online every month or so to make sure everything looks right. 

I've dated people who were really on fire about this topic. They didn't want to be "on the grid" and have Facebook knowing their stuff. Well, OK, then by that logic, don't have a cell phone. Don't email people. Don't have internet service. Don't watch TV! They know how long you watch which channels. And while you're at it, don't flatter yourself by thinking that the government or any particular company finds you SO INTERESTING that they want to review everything you're doing. You are NOT that interesting!

I also think that this is for marketing. I saw a blog say surely Palm is not collecting this for marketing. I say probably, yes. They'd want to know how you are using their phone so that they can make it more of what you want. Otherwise, the data on how you use your phone seems to not mean much unless they want to blackmail people doing things they wouldn't be proud of, and that's probably not on Palm's to do list.

Personally, I hope Palm has noticed how many times I accidentally open a blank email when I am trying to click on something else, and decide to move the "new email" button. :) I hope they see how many times I create an appointment, ask it to remind me 5 min before, and then watch it sync to my Google calendar as an appointment with NO reminder… meaning that I miss stuff. I hope they see how often I open the App Catalogue in the hope that they actually have more apps. I am suffering from app withdrawal.

So Palm, you're doing this. Everybody's doing this. Make it freaking work for me. Watch what I'm doing with the phone, and figure out what's frustrating for me… and fix it. That saves me the time of blogging or complaining to you. :)

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Categories: Just An Observation

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One Response to “Today’s Tech: Do I Have Any Privacy?”

  1. ebuyerfb says:

    If “they” know how much TV I watch and what I’m watching why does Nielson keep calling me to offer me a dollar to fill out their TV journal?