Online and naked…

Ok, so maybe not naked. However, there’s a definite feeling of being exposed when being online. Being a fairly private individual, one of the regular issues that I deal with as a smart phone user is how much information is being shared with the applications that I use.  As soon as you download an application, it seems that there are  series of questions that measure how much you’re willing to let the application intrude into your privacy.   “Is it okay to push notices to your phone?”  “Is it okay to turn on location services?”  Finally, there’s my favorite (with sarcasm) “Ok to post to Facebook?”

In reality, my first thought is No!  Do not send me more information.  If I want it, I’ll go and get it!  Please do not turn on my location services.  I know where I am and its none of your business.  Ok to post to Facebook?  Excuse me, I don’t even know if I want my friends to post things to my Facebook account and you think I want to let to let some stranger post comments to my wall?  That being said, it’s a slippery slope once you start installing these applications and letting them access your personal data.  Trying to find out traffic conditions before heading home?  There’s an app for that.  The one that I happen to use is called Waze.  Waze uses the location of its various users to track traffic speed and adds it to a map.  Sounds great but wait a second, so the app knows exactly where I’m going and how fast I’m going?  What other data does it capture?  Does it keep track of where I go frequently?  In all likelihood, anyone looking at my traffic patterns would be able to find my home and business addresses without much trouble at all.  Is that really what I want to do?

As with every application that I install, it’s a matter of weighing the pro’s and con’s.  Do I really want to know how much traffic is ahead or why I’m stuck in bumper to bumper traffic.  Unfortunately yes, I do want to know.  Most radio traffic updates are fairly useless but I’ll stop there before I digress too far.  Am I worried about how much information is being collected?  Yes, but the benefits of the data I receive for now outweigh the drawbacks.  I go through this before every application that I download.

Looking for coffee?  There’s an app for that too.  Starbucks has an app that will keep your membership, how much is on your gift cards, and conveniently tell you where the closest one is.  Sounds great right?  Nope, turns out that Starbucks had knowingly sacrificed data security in favor of ease of use.  Sounds like another app to delete.  Count me in on the many that have gone back and deleted the app.  So if you see me looking sleepy and lost, just point me in the direction of the closest Starbucks .  I might not tell you thanks right then but I’ll be thinking it as soon as I get a drink in my system.

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