Tracking Phones, Google Is a Dragnet for the Police

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I can see we do the same reading as there are other worrying articles in the “Privacy Project” that the NYT is running at the moment. I thought I’d point to the example of the ex-Google employee who quit because of their decision to cooperate with Chinese authorities in designing a search system that would allow them to identify human rights campaigners or other “suspect” activists who might threaten the government there. I think the bad publicity surrounding the resignation of this ex-employee caused Google to back-track on their decision, but the article gives other examples of Google’s tendency to ignore ethical considerations when there’s a chance to make a good profit.

I think the Mozilla Stumbler or a app that records the same data for local viewing would be a good app for educational purposes. I was surprised how effective it was triangulating my movement across the city. Obviously there is no means to stop this tracking besides throwing your phone away but greater awareness could lead to pressure on telcos and app designers to stop collecting this data on users.