Apple’s iPhone isn’t the only phone that stores your location

Marketplace Staff Apr 22, 2011
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Apple’s iPhone isn’t the only phone that stores your location

Marketplace Staff Apr 22, 2011
HTML EMBED:
COPY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Chances are pretty good your phone — you know, the one you take everywhere — knows precisely where it is. That iPhone or Andriod is designed to send that location data to Apple or Google, according to a story in this morning’s Wall Street Journal. And businesses are trying to cash in on that information.

Julia Angwin is a reporter for the Journal and she’s with us now. Good morning.

JULIA ANGWIN: Good morning.

CHIOTAKIS: You know, I have an iPhone, as millions of other people do. And a lot of people have Google Androids. Why would they want to keep track of where I am?

ANGWIN: These phones are keeping track of you for two reasons. One is they want to help you find, like where you are on the map, or one of the location services where you check in somewhere. But also, they’re building giant databases of wi-fi hot spots around the world, and they’re using your phones as a way to collect data about near by wi-fi networks.

CHIOTAKIS: Are they sharing this info with any third parties?

ANGWIN: Nothing preventing them from sharing this information with others. Right now, it doesn’t appear that they are, although Apple hasn’t been commenting at all. But I think the that the thing about all of this personal data that’s being collected these days is that right now, a lot of if appear pretty innocuous. But because there are no laws preventing this data from being shared in the future, we have no idea where it’s going to end up in the long run.

CHIOTAKIS: I mean, what could I expect from my cell phone just because it know where I am? Am I going to get an ad saying, “Hey, you’re close to XYZ coffee shop so why don’t you have some coffee?”

ANGWIN: Yes, in fact that is the dream of Apple with it’s mobile ad network and Google too to present you with ads for things that are right near by.

CHIOTAKIS: And we’re talking about a lot of money on the line right?

ANGWIN: Yeah, I mean right now the location industry which is actually probably in its nascent stages is already about almost a $3 billion industry. So I think we’re going to see a lot more of this.

CHIOTAKIS: Julia Angwin with the Wall Street Journal. Julia thanks.

ANGWIN: Thank you.

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