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Google Businesses The Internet Privacy

Privacy Group Calls Google Latitude a Real 'Danger' 227

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-latitude-for-latitude dept.
CWmike writes "Privacy International is calling Google's new mapping application an 'unnecessary danger' to users' security and privacy. The criticism follows the unveiling this week of Google Latitude, an upgrade to Google Maps that allows people to track the exact location of friends or family through their mobile devices. Google Latitude not only shows the location of friends, but it can also be used to contact them via SMS, Google Talk or Gmail. 'Many people will see Latitude as a cool product, but the reality is that Google has yet again failed to deliver strong privacy and security,' said Simon Davies, director of London-based Privacy International, in a statement. The group's chief concern is that Google Latitude lacks sufficient safeguards to keep someone from surreptitiously opting into the tracking feature on someone else's device."
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Privacy Group Calls Google Latitude a Real 'Danger'

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  • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:05PM (#26760337) Homepage Journal

    It's a rule. Whenever a change in the status quo is suggested people immediately jump to the most negative conclusions.

    I remember, many years ago, my all knowing government banned "reverse lookup" electronic phone books, unless they had some restrictions in the code. Later, the products fells off the market as they were no longer useful. Before then, one could lookup the telephone number of their neighbor and give them a call if the "music" spewing out of their place at 3am was a bit loud. Now you just call the police or, gulp, go over there.

    • Ha, I just use their wireless network to open up word pad and type "TURN DOWN THE DAMN MUSIC" in 50 pt font.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mysidia (191772)

        Since nowadays the music is almost always a MP3, just produce a blue screen or kernel panic, and that'll quiet 'em down for a few hours, while Vista tries to boot back up.

      • by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday February 07, 2009 @12:05AM (#26761533) Homepage

        I use my fiberglass handle 3" cable cutters, snip the conduit clean through right above the electric meter and the music will come down to acceptable levels. Warning, you will see really big sparks just before the fuses on the pole blow.

        P.S.: If you use the wrong type cutter, you will simply die a very horrible death.

        P.P.S: run fast afterwards and flip your main breaker to fake that you got hit as well. en flip it on saying it must have tripped your main when it happened.

    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:14PM (#26760421)

      Not to mention that any group called "Privacy International" might have a somewhat unrealistic view of how much of a threat this is.

      Which is not to say they're wrong, just that often times interest groups like this overzealously reject things out of hand that they percieve to be a threat.

      • by Malevolyn (776946) <signedlongint AT gmail DOT com> on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:19PM (#26760465) Homepage
        They're blowing it so far out of proportion that I'm going to go ahead and say they're wrong. People have the option of simply not using Latitude, not updating their location, etc. Crisis averted.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by nitroamos (261075)

          People have the option of simply not using Latitude, not updating their location, etc. Crisis averted.

          that's not always true. i just served jury duty where the defendant was accused of using tracking devices and various technologies to be sure his daughter wouldn't talk about how she was being used as his sex slave.

          i'm not saying this makes google's stuff bad, but certainly there are good and bad uses for technology.

        • by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday February 07, 2009 @12:07AM (#26761551) Homepage

          Exactly. My wife and I and our friends use latitude. it's really easy to control your location.

          Also by default it does not use the gps so it's always about 2500 feet off from where you really are.

          Privacy international is simply trolling.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Snaller (147050)

            Actually the problem is people like you. You are getting desensitized. So when the government wants to track everybody, you and your ilk will just think "well, we've been doing it for years and its quite harmless, really!"

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Lumpy (12016)

              I'm not desensitized. I CONTROL IT. I turn it on and off and CONTROL WHO can see my location.

              Now take away that control, I'm writing an app and having it report fake locations to the app. I'll gladly screw with any company and system tracking me without my desire to.

              In fact I did that for GPS.. NEMA sentences are very well documented, we screwed with a Truck GPS tracking system making it report the truck in random GPS locations every 30 seconds. The truck was in the atlantic, canada, texas, californ

          • by mollymoo (202721) on Saturday February 07, 2009 @12:03PM (#26764199) Journal

            Also by default it does not use the gps so it's always about 2500 feet off from where you really are.

            Hope you don't have WiFi. I tried Latitude, it was a few hundred metres out when I used it on my phone and just a few metres out when I used my GPS - exactly what you'd expect.

            What freaked me out was when I noticed it said it could work on my laptop. So I tried it. Equivalent accuracy to the GPS, with no GPS and no phone plugged in. WTF? Do they know where my IP address is? Hop in the car and start driving around - still within 20m everywhere I went in this city. Turn the WiFi off and it loses track. The only way that could work is if Google have mapped the physical location of every WiFi network and are using them to do the locating. I knew that was theoretically possible, but I didn't know Google had actually done it. For some reason, I found that slightly creepy.

            • by poptix_work (79063) on Saturday February 07, 2009 @12:44PM (#26764497) Homepage

              | The only way that could work is if Google have mapped the physical location of every WiFi network and are using them to do the locating. I knew that was theoretically possible, but I didn't know Google had actually done it. For some reason, I found that slightly creepy.

              Actually, Google didn't do it. This company did: http://www.loki.com/ [loki.com]

              It's pretty interesting and useful. Personally I don't have an issue with a public company doing anything a government can do without you noticing, it brings those things into the light where people can say 'hey, if $company can track my cell phone/laptop via wifi access points, so can the government'. I personally think Google worked *very* hard to ensure that privacy concerns would be avoided with Latitude. When you start Google Maps it mentions latitude, your icon changes significantly, exiting Google Maps asks if you wish to continue sharing your location. You must enable sharing on a per-friend basis when adding them, and the default is NO (even on the selection box). It's also possible to share at different levels of accuracy, AND to set a location to be reported in case you don't want anyone to know you're "hiding".

        • by eples (239989)
          You missed the point entirely: someone else opts you in using your own phone without you knowing it.
          Think about that for a second. Ever leave your phone sitting out somewhere?

          "Simply not using Latitude" isn't an option if someone opts you in without knowing. Got it?
          • by brandorf (586083) <brandorf@brandorf.com> on Saturday February 07, 2009 @09:29AM (#26763335) Homepage

            You missed the point entirely: someone else opts you in using your own phone without you knowing it. Think about that for a second. Ever leave your phone sitting out somewhere? "Simply not using Latitude" isn't an option if someone opts you in without knowing. Got it?

            If I was concerned about people snooping around on my phone, I would set it to lock, so it requites a password if you want to fuss with it. Pretty much all phones can do that.

    • by ShieldW0lf (601553) on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:19PM (#26760469) Journal
      If the government agencies and large corporations already knew everything that Google Latitude reveals, and they do, then I didn't lose any privacy. Neither did any of you. You can't lose what you didn't have.

      What actually happened was, we just got brought into the loop. That's it, that's all.

      If you think this is a bad thing, then it's probably time to grow some integrity and tell your spouse about your affair...
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by interkin3tic (1469267)

        If the government agencies and large corporations already knew everything that Google Latitude reveals, and they do

        [citation needed]

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Snaller (147050)

            Don't just post a link. That's lazy, add a paragraph about the link.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by khallow (566160)

        If the government agencies and large corporations already knew everything that Google Latitude reveals, and they do, then I didn't lose any privacy.

        Your bank and government know your financial information. So by your logic, it'd be ok for everyone else to know it too. Especially in conjunction with your Google Lattitude information.

        • Everybody who's ever done business with you knows something about you. They can and will make that data available to anybody who has enough cash for the list. They know what you buy at the grocery store and when. They know where and when you work, where and when you sleep, what websites you read and when, just about anything.

          Eventually they put 2 and 2 together to get your complete life along with you patterns and your psychological profile. I would much rather give them the ability to know my location
          • by khallow (566160)

            I would much rather give them the ability to know my location 24/7 via some icon on a map than have them know everything else!

            And? I'd sure rather have someone cut my pinky off than slit my throat. But that doesn't mean those are my only choices.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Nethead (1563)

          Right now I'm one broke mofo. I pity the fool that tries to steal my ID. Now you have all my financial information that is relevant. Go for it. One way to protect against ID theft is to be cause the ID thief more harm by using your ID.

      • They know your GPS location every second of the day? Whoa, did someone embed a tracker when you were born? That must hurt when you do a MRI scan.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by JWSmythe (446288) *

        This is different, but only slightly...

        In my case, I have a wonderful GPS equipped blackberry, with the GPS disabled by the provider. {sigh}. My "location" is determined by the tower that I an connected to, and my signal strength.

        As I found out by dialing 911 because I needed an ambulance where I was (long story, not a happy ending), even though GPS was enabled for emergency services in the configuration, they had absolutely no idea where I was. There was too m

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by gnasher719 (869701)

          As I found out by dialing 911 because I needed an ambulance where I was (long story, not a happy ending), even though GPS was enabled for emergency services in the configuration, they had absolutely no idea where I was.

          I needed the RAC (British autombile club) a few days ago; I knew where I was, but they also told me that they could have found my location anyway since I called by mobile phone (and mine is ancient), all they needed (for legal reasons) was my permission.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by dotancohen (1015143)

        If the government agencies and large corporations already knew everything that Google Latitude reveals, and they do, then I didn't lose any privacy. Neither did any of you. You can't lose what you didn't have.

        I don't care about the government knowing about my secret love affairs. I don't want my wife knowing, though.

    • by owlnation (858981)
      I think if you live in the UK -- as obviously this Privacy group does -- you might see the negative in anything that remotely looks like it might invade your privacy, because that is the daily norm in the UK. If you're being watched everywhere you go by security cameras, you are likely to be much more concerned than those in countries where that would be illegal. Especially when you can also be detained without charge in the UK for longer than anywhere in the western world, where the government wants to mon
      • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Friday February 06, 2009 @10:14PM (#26760889) Homepage Journal

        So your solution to avoiding a slippery slope into a totalitarian state is to restrict individual liberty.

        Ya, that makes sense.

        Individuals should be free to choose if they want to broadcast their location to anyone, or only to their friends.. sometimes or all the time.. the location they choose or a GPS location or an approximation of their location from WiFi towers.. etc. It's the individual choice that matters, not the technology. If you want to stop the slippery slope, stop people who are against individual liberty, not technology.

    • by peragrin (659227)

      odd I consider rule number one to look at how you can abuse and misuse something and badly as possible and see if you still like it.

      If people thought of that before passing laws like the DCMA, or patriot act, or unlimited warentless wiretapping then maybe the consequences would be known.

      • by QuantumG (50515) *

        The vast majority of people don't do anything but that. Considering all the positive ways a particular technology can be used is left for the "technologists".

  • Tell me again (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:05PM (#26760341)

    How someone knowing where I am is particularly dangerous for me if I'm not in the witness protection program? If they're going to do anything worse than a drive-by waterballoon then chances are they wouldn't bother with latitude and just WATCH ME.

    We've all said it before: obscurity is not security.

    • Re:Tell me again (Score:5, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:11PM (#26760387) Homepage Journal

      Security is about risk assement.
      obscurity can be security, just not your only security.

      For example, my car door is unlocked right now, can you break in to it? no, becasue it's whereabouts is current obscured from you.

      • by jshackney (99735) on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:52PM (#26760705) Homepage

        If I had to guess, somewhere in Portland?

      • by JWSmythe (446288) *

            Not really. Your trail isn't very hard to follow. You posted at 8pm on a Friday. You're probably not still at work. My guess is home.

            45.374226, -122.748914

            I'd come by and check, but it's a bit of a drive, and I'm not convinced that you're telling the truth about the doors. That, and all I'd really be there to do is lock them for you. Or, do you park in the garage? I'm not up for B&E just to see if you really locked your car doors.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Sorry for another post.

      Stalker can watch you and wait for you to go to a specific place.
      Someone investigating you can use your location to infer facts. Think divorce and child custody.
      Some husband thinks you've been to chatty with his wife and want's to have a 'word with you'

      Watching you means you might see them, or they take risks. Sitting in front of a computer lessons those risks.

      Now, are these risks great enough to actually be a danger to more the 1 out of 100,000 people? Mu guess is no, but only time w

    • Re:Tell me again (Score:5, Informative)

      by QuantumRiff (120817) on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:51PM (#26760697)

      I played with it on my blackberry, its pretty cool. When I quit the Map App, it asks if I want to keep tracking on, or disable it. Also, you have to give people permission to see your location. I can't help but think of some handy uses for it, such as your meeting friends at the game, and don't know where in the crowded parking lot they are, or what bar their sitting in downtown, and your trying to join them. It would be a hell of alot faster than trying to talk someone all the way to my location.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by TooMuchToDo (882796)
        I ride a motorcycle with several friends in Northern Illinois. This will be extremely handy when we want to meet up.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by JWSmythe (446288) *

          Definately.

          I'm going racing with a friend, and we are on each other's lists, so I'll be able to see if he's on his way, or already there. The resolution is kind of rough, so it won't tell me if he's on the other side of the pits, but I can just call and ask.

          I told my friends, if I should go missing, I don't answer the phone, and I'm not showing somewhere I should be, that's a good place to start looking for me. Still, the resolution isn't great, but the police

          • Re:Tell me again (Score:4, Interesting)

            by TooMuchToDo (882796) on Saturday February 07, 2009 @12:38AM (#26761699)
            On my Blackberry Curve, I'm getting within 1500 meters accuracy (western suburbs of Chicago). Further west in rural areas, I get 3000 meters accuracy, and in downtown Chicago I get anywhere from 200-800 meters of accuracy. That's not horrible for AGPS, with no on-board GPS. I look forward to the API being opened up on this bad boy.
      • Re:Tell me again (Score:4, Insightful)

        by vux984 (928602) on Saturday February 07, 2009 @12:34AM (#26761669)

        I can't help but think of some handy uses for it, such as your meeting friends at the game, and don't know where in the crowded parking lot they are, or what bar their sitting in downtown, and your trying to join them.

        So send them an sms with your gps location embedded in it, they can pull it up in their map app, and walk right to you. Integrated it all slickly so its easy to use and auto-magical.

        You hardly need google tracking your every movement for any of this.

        •   Or just do what those of us who grew up before all this stuff became available did; agree to meet somewhere, and either you are there, or you aren't. If your friends aren't there, wait a while. Or don't.

            Tracking, hell. Modern cellphones already provide that ability. "click click ring 'hey dude, I'm by the beer tent, where are you?'"

            lazy wankers ;)

            SB

      • I played with it on my blackberry, its pretty cool.

        I've got to get me one of those. My Nokia doesn't have a large enough screen for porno-on-the-go.

    • by vux984 (928602)

      We've all said it before: obscurity is not security.

      However obscurity IS crucial for privacy.

    • How someone knowing where I am is particularly dangerous for me if I'm not in the witness protection program?

      If you lived alone in a house with valuables, and I was a burglar, I wouldn't be very interested in knowing exactly where you are, but I would be quite interested in knowing you're not at home.

  • by the_humeister (922869) on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:06PM (#26760345)

    But the people who would use this probably don't care about these things anyway. Or if they do, they'll turn off their phone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TooMuchToDo (882796)
      One of the cool features is that I can set my location manually. So if I want to tell someone I'm somewhere, but be somewhere else, it's entirely possible.
    • But the people who would use this probably don't care about these things anyway. Or if they do, they'll turn off their phone.

      And Windows users generally don't care about malware. That does not mean that it is not harming them.

      I think that you are confusing "not caring" with "ignorance".

  • Frightening (Score:3, Interesting)

    by khellendros1984 (792761) on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:10PM (#26760377) Journal
    I'm hoping that this is some sort of software that you'd install on the device (an app for iPhone, a java applet for most other things, etc). What other method does Google have to get the information? I'm assuming that the Latitude server is talking to some software on the device that can retrieve the relevant location data. I can see people writing modified versions of the Google software that *hides* and can be used as a covert tracking device, without the bother of contacting the person's cell provider. Frankly, the whole thing bothers me too, and not just in that theoretical kind of way that DRM does...
    • Re:Frightening (Score:5, Informative)

      by JorDan Clock (664877) <jordanclock@gmail.com> on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:26PM (#26760505)
      This is exactly how it works: You install software on your phone. If you have physical access to someone's phone long enough to install the software, I think there are other far more malicious things you could do, like copy contacts and such.
      • I guess it's more the idea of it that creeps me out than anything.
      • by smclean (521851)
        Or just install software that silently broadcasts the device's coordinates without a lot of pretty Google front-end.. Really, what people are claiming to be the "dangers" of this service seem to be already present in more dangerous forms on any device with a network connection and a GPS unit. The Bad Guys don't need Google to build all their tools for them.
    • by dbcad7 (771464)

      Think Instant Messenger.. where you have to allow who you want to be able to see you. The threat (according to this submission) is that someone can physically get your phone, and add themselves into the list of people you want to be able to see where you are.. without you knowing it.. I imagine it's possible to do, to the really lame people.. and even if someone does this, I imagine it is a simple matter of checking now and again to see who has access to your whereabouts, and just removing those you don't

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:11PM (#26760397)
    Hold on, I'm working on tin foil case for my cell phone!
  • And I was quite concerned too.

    See, it isn't like Google is tracking people by asking the phone company to track your phone. They are just tracking people by giving them an app to run on the phone that reports its location periodically.

    So given that you have to install an app on any phone that is to be tracked, it's unlikely someone could trick Google into tracking your phone. At least, not unless they have access to your phone to install the app.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      true, but people would be made consciously aware of the risk and think a little beyond 'cool app lets install it.'
      I am not saying they shouldn't or should.

      • by blueg3 (192743)

        Honestly, what the app *does* is report your position to your friends.

        People are morons, but usually they don't intentionally install software that states its purpose without figuring out, at least accidentally, what its purpose is.

    • I don't want to be tracked, not by Google, not by the Government, not by my spouse, not by my work. It is a violation of my existence. (Little v not capital V.) I don't want it. And, I don't want to have to explain to any of the above, in 15 or 30 years, why I am not SUBVERSIVE because I don't want to be tracked.

      Oh, and I am a boring person. Anyone that knows me pretty much knows where I am at any moment. So realistically, it doesn't matter.

      I just don't want to be tracked.

      • So don't install the app. The article says the problem is you could trick Google into tracking someone who doesn't want to be tracked, but it's not true. They have to install the app.

        I don't want to be tracked either, so I won't be installing the app.

  • Surreptitious? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by egcagrac0 (1410377) on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:14PM (#26760425)

    If you're concerned about people doing things on your X, don't let them use your X.

    Where X is:

    • Computer
    • Mobile Phone
    • Landline
    • Network
    • Private Key
    • Car
    • Bedsheets
    • Underwear
    • Camera
    • Sofa
    • Hot Tub

    Pretty basic trust issues here, folks. If you don't trust someone, don't let them use your stuff.

    • by khallow (566160)
      What happens when they use your stuff anyway? I know that if I came home and found someone had broken in and used my stuff (eg, ate my food, slept in my bed, and walked off with my electronics, I'd call the police. Eventually the crooks would get caught. Sometimes the police even can trace back the crimes. I can do things (like keep the doors locked) to reduce the chances that someone breaks into my place. But the above "don't let people use your stuff" line is just bogus. If it is "surreptious". they didn'
      • What happens when they use your stuff anyway? I know that if I came home and found someone had broken in and used my stuff (eg, ate my food, slept in my bed, and walked off with my electronics, I'd call the police.

        I think you just answered your own question.

        I can do things (like keep the doors locked) to reduce the chances that someone breaks into my place.

        And you can do things like keep your phone in your pocket, and not let people play with it. If it gets stolen, then they aren't tracking you, they're tracking the thief.

    • by denzacar (181829)

      Where X is:

      * Computer
      * Mobile Phone
      * Landline
      * Network
      * Private Key
      * Car
      * Bedsheets
      * Underwear
      * Camera
      * Sofa
      * Hot Tub

      Googling into someone's bedsheets and/or underwear and/or hot tub?
      You my fr

  • Danger! Danger! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:15PM (#26760429)

    If I understand TFA correctly, if someone else gains access to your phone and your google login, they can activate Latitude and use it to track you.

    Their interpretation of that is: Latitude is dangerous. I'd interpret it as giving others access to your hardware and your account is dangerous.

    But that's why I'm just a computer geek and they're a multi-national organization.

    • Re:Danger! Danger! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Friday February 06, 2009 @09:27PM (#26760519)

      I too think they are three marbles short. But I think the idea they are attempting to get across is less, "if we can get access to your phone, we can pwnt you." as it is "we think Google's made it so people other than those you've authorized can snoop that data once you've made it avaliable."

      Not quite as hairbrained, but still rather "Get off my lawn"-ish given this group hasn't provided a wit of evidence that something like that can happen.

      • by QuantumG (50515) *

        I think the funny thing about privacy groups is that they're not in the business of acknowledging that less extreme viewpoints exist. So they don't even mention that Latitude gives you the option of setting who can see your location and who can't. If they acknowledged that then they might have to acknowledge that some people want everyone to know where they are and what they are doing. They might even find out that these people are in the majority.

    • by SvnLyrBrto (62138) on Friday February 06, 2009 @10:25PM (#26760971)

      So far as I can tell, Latitude is no different from Buddy Beacon, Loopt, Whrrl, or any of a dozen other GPS-enabled "social networking" apps that'll happily send out your location to whomever you allow. But Latitude, specifically, and apparently only Latitude, is evil and dangerous.

      I know hating on Google is the trendy thing these days, but come on.

      cya,
      john

    • What if you install it and only let your friends know where you are, and then someone steals your friend's phone? You're being tracked by some strangers without giving others access to your hardware.

    • Excuse me, but I didn't flail my arms on this one, and was quietly setting by the campfire and monitoring for hostiles too.

      Move on, nothing here. You have more to worry about if your that paranoid that you cant control this application.

      With all the phone taps, camera monitors, cell phone tracking by the government, you think you have to worry about your friends knowing where you are? I mean really, if I wanted to hunt you down, there are much easier ways, than coming and taking your cell phone, hacking the

  • I figured a privacy group would say a product that tracks your position all the time would be a good thing, and a boon to humanity! That a privacy group would find it a "danger," that really shocks me to the core! Next thing you know, the NRA is going to start opposing gun control laws.

  • by John Hasler (414242) on Friday February 06, 2009 @10:04PM (#26760787) Homepage
    Mash

    "Recently announced Google Earth version 5.0 adds interesting new features like images of ocean floors and some detailed images of Mars."

    up with

    "...an upgrade to Google Maps that allows people to track the exact location of friends or family through their mobile devices."

    plus a little hacking and amaze your friends and family as you wander along the bottom of the Mariana Trench.

  • kiddy track (Score:3, Funny)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Friday February 06, 2009 @10:18PM (#26760933)
    think of the children?
    • by ShinmaWa (449201)

      Funny thing is that this actually had the reverse effect for a friend of mine. This friend was a big privacy, anti-nanny-government guy UNTIL he discovered that Verizon sells a phone that will let him track where his 14 year old son is.

      Suddenly, he thought this was the best thing ever and signed up right away, gave the phone to his son for his birthday, and -- of course -- opted not to tell him about the tracking feature on his birthday present.

      • by swillden (191260)

        Suddenly, he thought this was the best thing ever and signed up right away, gave the phone to his son for his birthday, and -- of course -- opted not to tell him about the tracking feature on his birthday present.

        The phone tells his son on startup, and gives him an option to reject each tracking request.

        I used this with my daughter's phone for a while. It was convenient but I ultimately decided it's not worth the $10 per month, mainly because it was slow and often just didn't work. Easier to just text her: "Where are you?". Of course, she can lie, but she knows if she gets caught lying she loses the phone -- and she usually gets caught.

        I do have the app installed and enabled on her phone so if I decide I REAL

  • 1984, Big Brother is calling.

    Anyone who thinks Govts. around the world won't try to get and abuse this info is a fool!
  • Unless google is going to send you an sms every 5 minutes stating your been tracking, i see a non issue with this. If someone can get to your mobile and enable it, without you know, then that is your problem, not Google's or anybody else's, From what i can see is that the app needs to be updated by the user and there are some time of reminders.

    This is going so over board, it's really not funny. The General public reads articles like this, think it's blow out of proportion and aren't going to take anythi
  • say i hang out with Suzy a lot,
    and my wife thinks we're just friends but we're actually banging all over town,
    and one evening Suzy and i go to Power Exchange as usual,
    but unbeknownst to me she's made herself wildly trackable online,
    and my wife idly discovers we weren't at the weekly meeting of the cartography association as i'd so conveniently had her convinced.

    obviously this is far-fetched, since everyone knows it's bad form to have an affair with the indiscreet, but it illustrates the point. think about a

  • They're just now cluing in that this is an 'unnecessary danger'? As if the /other/ services dont give google a goldmine of information for unrestricted use? No, no, this ONE it's just too much, right?

    Ridiculous. As always - if you don't like the inherent privacy risks, don't use it. And leave alone the people who do want to use it - and those who provide the service.

  • and that is People-that-tell-us-what-to-do. Privacy advocates are so worried about being told what they can and can't do, but they want to tell us that we shouldn't use Latitude. I hate to break it to them, but this is isn't the first GPS tracker available that tells your friends where you are. I use one to let people know where I am on my solo motorcycle rides, so they don't worry. When I get home I turn it off. Simple and my privacy isn't violated. These guys spend so much time troubling over the sl
  • Instead of going after the headline companies for minimal issues, the efforts of the so-called privacy group would be far more beneficial to all, if they did things like prevent state governments from putting personal information on the web. Or stop the feds from listening in on our communications.
  • OK, so maybe you're concerned that some bad person could gain access to your teenage daughter's phone and turn this on? (Probably not too hard, actually, based on my experience of kids leaving their stuff all over the place).

    Surely Google could have implemented some basic security, like you receive an SMS every day for a week after you've activated it, reminding you & asking to conifirm; or automatically disabling the service if it's not re-confirmed every month, or copying you by mail on every notifi

  • by spire3661 (1038968) on Saturday February 07, 2009 @05:20AM (#26762615) Journal
    Im getting really sick and tired of SMS becoming a requirement to operate. I DO NOT like the fact that either I get charged for incoming texts, or pay a blanket monthly fee. INCOMING TEXT SHOULD BE FREE, or at least allow me to comfirm/deny. As it is now I have SMS completely turned off.
  • Two months ago I turned down a job when I found out it was to work on software very similar to this. It was exclusively for cellphones and targeted to teens who want to find their friends at festivals.

    I can see the uses but, whether stupid or not (what with the economy and everything), I just wasn't comfortable enough with it.

    I like Google but that opinion is becoming strained because in many ways they have the potential to be much worse than a silly cellphone tool from a nondescript company. They already t

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo. - Andy Finkel, computer guy

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