Mobile Interventions - Good or Bad?
As class action lawsuits are handed out for invasion of privacy in the Carrier IQ scandal http://www.tuaw.com/2011/12/05/apple-samsung-others-sued-over-carrier-iq-scandal/) and highly invasive shopping tools such as Shopkick, Aisle411, and Foursquare see an early lift in impact on what people buy, it raises the fundamental question: are all these interactions making our life better? Every user must make their own privacy vs. benefit tradeoff, but the minute these interventions are perceived to be non-value-added (like SMS spam or irrelevant offers), then users will start to shut them off. Now Locaid http://www.technologyreview.com/computing/39275/?nlid=nldly&nld=2011-12-09) offers to find the location of any mobile device just buy putting in the number. This uses a location capability installed by the carriers to determine location for 911 calls but now could be exploited for a wide range of commercial uses. Just like carrier IQ, the operators may use it to measure and improve their own network performance, but unless users feel some level of control of this data, then we may see more explosions and class action lawsuits. or users will start disabling their phone for periods of time like Freedom does for disabling internet connections. The key is that operators, device manufacturers, and application developers all understand their is a privacy vs. benefit tradeoff that every user will make. They must understand what is happening with their data. Every intervention must be a value-added one. Without this level of transparency, the industry may stunt its own growth.
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