How Will You Protect Your Customer’s Data Exhaust?

Last week on The Future Digital Life, I posted about the Dangers of Computer Vision.  The post garnered a fair amount of interest but it is a question that’s a tad ahead of its time.  We don’t have cameras greedily sucking up information by the bucketfuls right now.

But we do have GPS for our augmented reality apps.

Cue the Imperial March soundtrack and bring out Apple’s turtlenecked front man in role of Darth Jobs.  A recent “bug” was uncovered in iPhone’s software that allowed tracking of the phone user’s location.

Apple claims the data is not the actual smartphone location:

“The location data that researchers are seeing on the iPhone is not the past or present location of the iPhone, but rather the locations of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers surrounding the iPhone’s location, which can be more than one hundred miles away from the iPhone.”

Either way, it’s a perception that a breech of trust has occurred.  Rather than ramble on about the dangers of this data, and since many of the readers of Games Alfresco are software designers, I thought I would pose a question.  One that won’t be that surprising if you read the title of my post.

Sound off, software developers of the rabid interwebs…

How will you protect your customer’s data exhaust?

5 Responses

  1. Well, of course its tracking the location – the whole point is to crowdsource wifi points (much like skyhook does).
    Its not their goal to track users, but if the data is leaked they could be.

    This is why i’m wary of “I’m here! Show me whats nearby” style AR systems where the server does the job of delivering content to the users location.
    Or at least, ones intending to do that precisely.

    Much better to have a user subscribe to a areas data, cache the results, then only the device has too know the exact location – no outside server has too.

  2. Heh. “data exhaust”. I had to sit back and ponder that. Has society in general reached that point? Possibly for some, it could be called “data bleed”. With businesses absorbing every literal bit they can get their processors on, I can’t see corporate morals kicking in. Common sense says that the individual needs to be diligent. Do people REALLY need to have their phones on 24/7? Do we REALLY need internet connectivity 24/7?

    I like Thomas Worbel’s statement about users subscribing to an area. But then we put the burden of responsibility upon the local community. As it turns out, sometimes the local community can be just as big a data vacuum as the single business concern.

    Should local, state, or federal government get involved? Hardly. They have their hands full just surviving the roller coaster economy. No, I put this square upon the end user. Savvy people already know that there is a pollution from data exhaust. Just like an automobile needs tuning, this problem will take some rethinking on tech usage. Don’t need it? Turn. It. Off.

  3. “But then we put the burden of responsibility upon the local community.”

    Sorry, explained myself badly – I just meant you would subscribe to augmentations around your area – the data could still come from a big company elsewhere, but you would be downloading a whole area at once rather then telling anyone specificaly where you.

  4. @Thomaswrobel: I don’t think you explained yourself badly, as much as I might have read too much into it. But I’m going to keep my statement about local communities as I made it. It makes sense to me. :-)

  5. I’m not sure it’s as easy as just turning it off, Joey. Our devices in the near future are going to be more connected to the internet than ever before. Plus, this data exhaust is so valuable, it’s becoming part of the business plan.

    I think it’ll be extremely difficult for users to control their data. It’s going to have to be done at the business side, I believe.

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