Hm Hmm Hmmm...
This starts to look like some form of sealed law that requires handset makers to log the location...
Add Microsoft Windows Phone 7 to the list of mobile operating systems that silently transmit the precise physical location of the device back to a central database. CNET reported the location tracking on Monday, almost a week after reports of similar tracking in Apple's iPhone and Google's Android mobile OS raised concerns that …
I came here to suggest that this is looking spookier by the minute. Thats 3 for 4 on the newest phone OS. Anyone looked at webOS yet?
And there has been silence from the competition enforcers over NokiaSoft. Is it in big govt's interest to let the plan go through?
"once is misfortune, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action"
I had suspected this from the beginning. If a law had been drafted that required everybody to carry a tracking device, the civil liberties people would have been up in arms immediately. Solution? Simple. Disguise the tracking device by adding various secondary functions e.g. telephone services, emphasize those secondary functions in the marketing spiel and bury the primary function in the small print. People will buy the device for the secondary functions alone and forget about - or not even ralise - the primary purpose of the device.
Careful. Someone in France was arrested on suspicion of terrorist activities because they left their mobile behind when they went to a meeting. Aparently that kind of behaviour is not allowed! (Oh and someone else because they didn't actually HAVE a mobile phone - obvious terrorist!)
I guess I must be a really bad terrorist because I leave my mobile behind every day when I go into the clean rooms... Anon obviously.
I predict that in 5 years time all mobile phones will have location services permanently enabled, in 10 years it will be obligatory to own and carry a mobile phone at all times, and in 20 years they will be implanted at birth.
They were just preparing the ground with the Telly Tubbies. The stomach mounted screen is the Authorities' console access.
This entire atrocious abuse of privacy is marketers looking to push so-called "appropriate" advertising on people who don't need, nor want, the marketards opinion on whatever tat they are pushing.
Face it, marketards, you are now hated roughly as much as lawyers & politicians.
I'm damn glad none of this counts toward the paltry data limits imposed by our wireless network overlords... what's that? What do you mean this isn't free? You seem to imply those two bits are going to cost me two bits?!?!?! _Why those __dishonest__ bastards!!_
Frosty beverage because I damn well deserve one and [pick your "favorite" phone company] should be buying.
Having said that, I am NOT even the tiniest bit surprised that Microsoft does it, too. In Apple's case, I would have been shocked if they were not collecting any kind of personal data that can possibly be used to their advantage, since they have eclipsed Microsoft as the most aggressively evil company in the business--but profitable! Google? I was a tiny bit surprised. I knew they were going evil, but they've been relatively slow in the growth of their evilness.
Step 1. Incorporate as an American company operating under America's laws.
Step 2. Follow the laws, become EVIL.
Step 3. Profit!
A business is NOT in business to make profits, neo-GOP propaganda notwithstanding. A business is in business to stay in business. Of course excessive and sustained losses will put you out of business, but so will excessive and insanely cancerous growth. Remember Enron, anyone?
The very reason for a business to exist is as a money-making engine for its shareholders. In order to continue making money, it must trade. G00gle doesn't charge end-users directly so the money has to come from somewhere...
Even our Red friends in the East now recognise the benefits of economic growth and making money. HOW it is done is another matter entirely.
Have you been away for some time?
Google is the biggest Privacy Violator in the World [tm] - didn't you know?! Why so surprised? I expected it from them and perhaps Apple.
I was surprised that MS didn't log tracking data on the actual hardware like the other two.
You're right, I should NOT have been surprised at all. My tiny surprise must have been some sort of vestigial memory of the "Don't be evil" thing. Or maybe I was fantasizing that Google might believe in some of their own 'Android is open' propaganda?
(Yeah, I saw the other reply, but there was no thought there so no reply seems called for.)
Despite being paranoid, and currently stoned, my brainy brain brain thingy (we all have them, I'm reliably told), tells me that this one at least has another possible explanation.
Not wishing to defend microsoft, but signal strength and location data would be astoundingly useful in providing detailed coverage maps. Current maps are largely estimated.
Network operators could use the data to provide more masts where needed (there may be places where there are lots of people, but a poorer then expected signal strength). We'd all like that.
Microsoft could use publish the data themselves online, for us all to see. We'd all like that too.
The data will, of course, still be used for all the bad shit as well, which I'm dead against. Burn the bastards!!!
My brainy brain brain thingy can still type the keys! Look, no unintended spelling mistakes!
At this point I wouldn't be surprised. Also did anyone honestly expect *Microsoft* to be the goody goody?! I mean seriously.
Also I've long suspected that certain incredibly bloated OSes do much the same thing. Seriously, who expects a shiny desktop, media player, web browser and a driver layer to take up 15GB + of hard drive space; no matter how badly written. Oh, and free cell isn't gonna tip it either.
As a point of reference several Linux distros that do all the above PLUS an office suite, multimedia editing abilities and loads more functionality come in under 500MB. So why do some operating systems require 30X the install footprint?! What exactly is going on in there?!
I wonder what will happen when we find out that the government / the boss has been able to track the exact location of employees for years.
Companies (and government agencies) have gone with BBs largely because they are secure. Does location tracking count as "secure"?
The idea that blackberry devices are secure is a myth... Just read what the guy who exploited one at pwn2own said, they are obscure and proprietary but once you delve deeper you find they are actually less secure than other mobile platforms.
What they do have, is momentum (a few years ago they had no real competitors) and centralised control (ie you can control your employees phones from a central place)... But don't fall for the myth that blackberry devices are somehow more secure than other phones.
At least that's what it seems, based on MS's explanation of how it works : doesn't store a local record, anonymizes location requests, only feeds locations back if user has turned the service on. All OK, then? I'd say 'yes', if you actually want location services (but of course such T's & C's can change under gov pressure). I'm still not happy about them using my AP as a node in their wifi map without my permission and without offering me at least a token payment to recognize the value (albeit small) of the service that my AP is providing to them.
The whole point of this is to get it over with. None of us really want to think about how bad this is so we are glad when we learn;
1. It does not work very well
2. They tell you they are doing it
3. It has a reasonable purpose
4. It's turned off by default.
Having permanently learnt what a NON-STORY this is we will forget about it and never want the subject brought up again. When someone discovers in 18 months time that they are tracking us with live google streetview through webcams and CCTV we will all say, "heard it all before".
So on Windows Phone 7 the transmission of location data:
Is switched off by default
Is easy to switch off in settings if it's on
Doesn't get saved to the SD card
Is fully documented saying what and why the location data is stored and how the users privacy is kept
FFS, if you want a cinema near where you standing of course your location is going to get sent to MS...
To tar MS with the same Google/Apple brush over this is hardly fair, but so called journalism really has sunk this low....
"FFS, if you want a cinema near where you standing of course your location is going to get sent to MS..."
Why when I'm asking Google Maps ?
Also this is regular and persistant so if you switch Location services on and then never actually call on it then your location and related details are still sent to MS. Plus it's off by default at the moment, it's a trivial change to set it on by default.
...than every application having to have it's own database of cell tower/SSID identifiers.
WP7 uses cell towers to get a rough location, refines it using SSID's then refines further using GPS. This means it's quicker to get you results than by having to wait for a GPS lock every time. This is simply reports to whatever application is asking as Lat/Long/Accuracy.
The alternative is for every application to have to get cell tower and SSID's and transmit them to their own server for lookup, or have a database of every cell tower and SSID on your device.
Which alternative would you prefer?
Given the amount of utter BS Microsoft has spouted over the last, umm, 3 decades or so, are you really going to rely on something *they* publish for your feeling of comfort?
I don't believe anyone unless I see independent confirmation, least of all Microsoft. Their favourite sales trick is to conjure up figures and statements without any reference that allows you to confirm their validity, so thank you, but no thanks.
Not to tar MS with the brush it has created itself over the years would be bad journalism IMHO.
>>> Add Microsoft Windows Phone 7 to the list of mobile operating systems that silently transmit the precise physical location of the device back to a central database.
Where's the evidence of each OS provider doing this? So far it appears only Microsoft are (predictably enough, for them) including a unique device ID - presumably you've seen some proof of Apple and Android also storing the device/owner ID in their database?
The modern world has come as a bit of a shock to many people. However you seem comfortable with the changes since they offer you convenience.
I must admit I love Google Street View. It seemed they did nothing wrong when they photographed everything from the street and published the pictures. Anyone can take photos in the street and publish the pictures. No law against it.
The difference is when it's done on a massive scale outside of your control then it has even more massive implications. Clearly the WiFi logging done by Google is part of a bigger plan where it gets used as location tracking.
DNA fingerprinting changed the world and this development in mobile phones changes the world some more. You know what they say, if you done nothing wrong then you have nothing to hide.
"You know what they say, if you done nothing wrong then you have nothing to hide."
May be so but that's not the point, it's the invasion of privacy for its own sake which is. You don't have to be doing unlawful things to feel your privacy has been violated. For example, that's why doors are placed on lavatories or why most people have sex in private. Having part of one's life in private is a human activity, it's what we humans do.
Moreover, it's not only humans either. Cats if you stare at them will usually look away, I once looked after the friendliest of friendly cats but starting at it or when it saw the eye (lens) of a camera it would always look away--getting a good photograph of it was nigh on impossible.
Privacy might be under attack, especially so in English-speaking countries such as the US, UK and Australia, but it's not dead yet--not by a long shot.
"You know what they say, if you done nothing wrong then you have nothing to hide."
"They" (and perhaps you) are missing something important ... "They" have doors to "their" toilets, right? And "they" don't have plate-glass exterior walls in "their" showers, right? Why not? What are "they" hiding?
If these cretins continue this kind of behavior much longer then pressure from users will eventually force legislators to regulate open source for both firmware and software.
Alternatively, if legislators fail to comply because they too want to track users (highly probable), then buyers should leave them in droves for open source equivalents.
If there's a demand then sooner or later someone will develop one but I'd reckon we'd be unlikely to see any results for 5 years or so.
As the mobile/cell phone o/s monopoly (unlike Windows) is already broken, it should be easier for bit players to enter what will be initially a niche market.
(I hope so anyway.)
With all these smart phones logging local wi-fi information against geographical location, one conclusion is that Apple, Google and Microsoft are using their customers as an unpaid equivalent to a Google Street car. When someone uses these hotspots they then know the exact location of that hotspot for serving local advertisements etc. to its consumers.
I use my mobile much like a land line - it even cost about the same, £19 PAYG with £10 credit. When I need to make a call I switch it on - this is handy as I can check to see if anyone has tried to contact me. Afterwards I switch it off. I really can't remember why I bought the thing, 99.999 of life is non-urgent and/or utterly trivial.
If a person wishes to waste tons of dosh on a mobile tracking advertising medium maybe they should be watching said person!
I used to have an old GSM Nokia phone that had a detachable battery at the rear. The battery was detached by pushing a button on the battery which would release the locking catch and it would just slide off the plastic retaining runners (this made changing batteries a breeze).
If the phone needed to be switched off in a hurry (ringing in a meeting etc.) it was convenience personified, all I had to do was to reach into my pocket push the button release and slide it with my thumb about 1/8". The battery would detach from the supply contacts and the phone would be totally dead. To power up again, push-click and hit "on".
You can no longer do this in any modern phone that I know of, it's as if the manufactures/Telcos want you to log off only by the power button (which seems to take forever whilst it rings home and fucks around with housekeeping ('tis now the same crap procedure as powering down a PC or other possessor-based appliances with 'soft' power switches).
Does anyone know if this is part of the agenda to keep the phone logged on all the time? With making the phone so hard to switch off it would certainly seem so.
(BTW, I now overcome this problem on modern phones by placing a piece of thin bouquet-like ribbon under the battery and leaving the back off the phone. Just tug the ribbon and the phone's instantly dead. Sorry iPhoners and those who've sealed phones, lemming like you'll have to obey your masters.)
> Does anyone know if this is part of the agenda to keep the phone logged on all the time?
No. More like helping out the GSM protocols by clearly signalling your absence from coverage, rather than relying on bandwidth-wasteful timeout/retry mechanisms to work out where and if you are currently located.
You ask for location based services (where's the nearest petrol station, google location search, Sat Nav, having the area code pop up on screen [if people still do that!]) and then you moan when you find that some location based data is passed to the people who run the OS...Big surprise there isn't it *rolls eyes*
AFAIUI these phones track your movements whilst NO nav or mapping software is running.
It might also be compared with the fact that a phone transmits your speech to the carrier when off-hook. This is an unavoidable part of its working. But, if it also did so ON-hook, I would start to wonder what the h*ck was going on, and why.
My first thoughts when I saw the iPhone tracking was that I bet they all do it in some capacity or another... and I was right, I wouldn't be at all surprised if Symbian, WebOS, Maemo/Meego, Bada etc did it as well.
Why? It's because they want to know what kind of experience their customers are getting with connectivity, where they are going etc, so they can make phones to better fit the customer's needs and thus sell more phones than the competition. Shocking eh? *Newsflash* Company does things to get competitive advantage!! It's not spying, it's not the government (although police might find it useful, in which case stop being a crim), there is no conspiracy, it's just pure business.
And you know what I don't give a monkey's if some megacorp knows where I was when, they aren't stalking me I will just be incorporated into statistics... I'm not a terrorist, a criminal, a spy, in witness protection or anything - so what do I care? It isn't actually ever going to harm me in any way.
Of course if I did have reason to hide I wouldn't be using a smartphone, I'd have a very basic £5 anonymous/fakename PAYG that I dumped in a public bin everytime the credit ran out - you know like real spys in hollywood.
Hardly any need for any "sealed law" requiring phones track you. Someone in the position to pass such a law can already track you by going to the Telco and asking for your phones' location. Added bonus that this already works on 100% of all phones and has been in use for decades.
Yes, the main difference being that when the police suspect me of a crime, they can get my location data through a court order from my telco... whereas the builder of my smart phone can get it by running a script.
Also, when the police get my data they will use it to prosecute me for the crime they suspect me of. Whereas the builder of my smart phone will use it to assemble behaviour patterns that can be used for things I neither need or want.
You see? If I where a criminal I'd have to fear the government as they can 'spy' on me if I where dumb enough to bring my phone to a crime scene. Whereas if I'm not a criminal I'm spied upon by Big Corporations. Everywhere. All the time.
And what do we get in return?
Well, the criminals among us may get what's coming to them. But the innocent smart phone users? They get targeted advertising at best. May I decline?
It's not so much Big Brother as it's a Brave New World. AC for irony.
Cell tower tracking is a non-issue, that can be done via the carrier's network anyway.
Wifi tracking is a bit different though, I wonder if when you 'forget' a wifi network your Android phone spotted if it's deleted from the DB. Would be interesting to know, as ostensibly that list is for keeping a list of wifi networks.
I notice no-one said Android keeps your GPS location, just cell & wifi. Is that fact?
As for MS phoning that data home. THAT is worse than Crapple's DB imho as it's potentially infinite in history and you don't get to delete it.
1. The phone does not store the info, unlike Android (short period) or IOS (ridiculously long period.
2. The phone does not transmit the information unless LOCATION SERVICES ARE TURNED ON ! This is not the same as using satnav software, its when you have requested local information (pubs, petrol stations, Macky D's etc.). Its hard to see how these services can be provided with up to date info without sending your location.
Jeez, biggest non story for a long time.
It won't be just marketing, it will be targeted local marketing.
Why see ads for a stores ten, hundreds or thousands of miles away when it can show you ads for stores within 1, 2, 5, etc miles of your location.
And for Search, could put in search for a taxi and it will list the ones just round the corner.
As for the Big Brother stuff... plenty of that in the comments
Is this the location tracking that the phone asks you about when you initially set it up, also switched off after initial setup under settings->feedback, or is it the tracking under settings->find my phone. If it's either of these, I don't see a problem - it asks you about them as you set up the phone, if it is another method of tracking I'd be rather more concerned.
Is anyone able to clarify?
So it comes down to choose the least worse out of 3 evils. I'm an honest person that isn't afraid of warrants to get my location. I assume you'll need a warrant to get this data from Microsoft. At least like this when my gf or whatever gets a hold of my phone for 2 sec while I'm in the bathroom doesn't grab all my location data. We all know that sometimes a few harmless lies go a long way for peace. Apple and google just give our other halfs ammo and stupid reasons for jealousy.
So the next smartphone I buy will be a windows phone.
If the log file was obfuscated by a compilation process and the user disassembled the log then the act would almost certainly be illegal under the DMCA.
As I said above in an earlier post, switching off mobile phones is becoming harder and harder the effect being that people leave them switched on all the time. The logical extent of this is that if a phone manufacturer came out with a phone that you couldn't switch off and you tampered with it so you could then you'd be in breach of the DMCA too.
This might sound alarmist but there's precedents in the digital watch (where's the on/off switch on yours?). Moreover, try to remove a battery from an iPhone and you'll realize that it's pretty much integrated as part of the design. It's not out of the bounds of possibility that modifying such an integrated design or altering its circuit could be considered a violation of the DMCA. (After all modifying, altering or adding a switch isn't all that dissimilar to altering the on/off code in an ROM/EPROM which is forbidden by the DMCA, thus modifying any integrated package may be fair game for the rights holders.
If such an argument/extrapolation were to be made and the DMCA extended in this way by the courts then it would have serious ramifications for the electronics service industry, hobbyists and perhaps even scrap merchants who salvage parts from old machines.
No Microsoft fan, but at least they apparently put this relatively clearly into their TOS. I'd really like to know how this is used though.
Locating wireless access points? Frankly, I don't give a toss. This is a useful functionality, so if you are using location based services, your phone can locate itself without GPS being on, saving you battery power.
But, if location + unique ID are sent, how long are they stored? The unique ID *could* be stripped immediately. They could keep a few data points as a "sanity check", to make sure the phone is not faulty and claiming it's jumping all over the planet. On the other end of the spectrum, they could be keeping every data point forever.
As the option is there, clear as day in both the initial setup on a few droids I have used, and simples to disable if you decide to opt out afterwards.
This htc desire asks during initial boot up / or launching the settings icon - ocation services, or just re-running setup again.
Users tend to struggle to find likewise in windows phones, but I've not checked for ios recently.
Yes clueless users enable these things deliberately, so maybe a point there.
However even a clueless user is given the option...
So all of a sudden someone has realised how A-GPS works and spun it into a huge story?
I'm really not seeing why there is such an issue here. On top of the (non-)story it looks like the only thing that'll come from it is worse GPS performance for those who travel a lot due to data not being kept around.
This is standard behaviour - noone is tracking you guys! Apple and Google cache the mast locations so, everytime you hit a new mast it will store it. So your home mast will be in there, the ones on your trip to work also etc., but you *cannot* use this data to track people's movements, only where they may have been in the past. I have not read the article on the 'doze phones but I am quite certain it will be the same. This is how GPS works. Dan - come on dude!!
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020