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The smart super spy in your pocket

Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:39 am

Having read the article London's Bins Are Tracking Your Smart Phonehttp://www.independent.co.uk/life-style ... 54924.html today, I have begun to realise how insidious and invasive cloud computing technologies have become. There are now bins in London which log the mac address of your phone when you come within range of one of their wi-fi hot spots. The bins then use this mac id to target adds at you as you walk about London, monitoring and logging your habits and behaviour, for example how many times you have visited a certain coffee shop.
I strongly object to a private company logging the mac address of my phone every time I walk past a wireless hot spot. First of all this is a form of spying, it is unauthorised electronic surveillance, and it should be illegal.
I am also unhappy that my smart phone automatically stores my diary online, and contacts in the cloud - there should be an option to turn off cloud storage or I should be able to redirect my phone to use my own online private storage system. I also think people should be careful about storing sensitive commercial information in the cloud and how they use social media sites such as facebook. I also get really annoyed by other people talking pictures of me and my family and posting them up onto facebook without my permission - I wouldn't put my kids pictures in a magazine so why should people be allowed publish their pictures on the internet for the world to see without my permission?

I think there needs to be some new legislation around cloud computing.

1) The right to choose the jurisdiction in which data is held and stored.
2) Make it illegal to track people and devices surreptitiously for commercial purposes
3) Any apps which use the cloud services shoud have local storage options if possible.
4) Enshrine the right to anonymity within the law.

Any thoughts and comments appreciated

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Re: The smart super spy in your pocket

Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:59 am

Hmm ...
I tend to agree with much of what you say, but I do feel there are several different concerns all mixed up together, here.

First off, the article mixed up two separate things - cookies, which are stored on the user's own device and which can only be stored there with the user's permission, and data collected about the user but stored by the collector elsewhere.

Second, you object to people taking pictures of you and posting them on facebook.
When you're out and about, you're in a public place, and what you do, where you go, is public. This is no different whether you're Joe Sope, Paul McCartney, or the Queen. Live with it.

Cloud computing. Using it is your choice. What you put there is up to you. You know it's available to anyone who wants to look, so only put there what you're willing to let everyone else see.
Apps which use cloud services could easily use local storage, and would if enough users wanted the facility. If they don't, it's because its users haven't asked for it.

Tracking people and devices (surreptitiously or not) for commercial (or other) purposes. Way back in the last century, if I went into the newsagent every day to buy my papers, pretty soon the newsagent would work out that I read the Telegraph and the Sun, and would make sure he had my copies ready. That's collecting commercial information, no different from what Tesco's does now, with my Club card. Or Starbucks using my smartphone WiFi mac.
I can spoil their game by shopping more randomly, by going into Costa or Coffee Republic some days, or just wandering into Starbucks and out again without buying. Tesco's doesn't know what I drink because I buy cider and coffee from Asda - and Asda think I live on cider and coffee only. And I never buy my newspapers from the same place two days running (and the Sun is for my daughter - I never read it)

One thing I can't get round - every time I go into Salford, they know I'm there. Emblazoned on my car for all to see is a unique ID, that I can't get rid of - the car's registration plate. Do I care?
Last edited by Burngate on Sun Aug 11, 2013 9:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The smart super spy in your pocket

Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:34 am

I'm with you 100% zog - but I fear that you may be playing to a tough crowd! Geeks tend to love the oncept of "connecting everything to everything else", but many seem woefully naive about possible consequences. Then there's the "innocent have nothing to fear" crowd...

As for cloud computing - computer enthusiasts might want to think twice before handing over their (and everybody else's) data and processing capability to what would doubtless become a cartel of sharks. You may suddenly find that your intellectual property rights are no longer your own, or that your small business's customer / supplier lists and accounts are available to the highest bidder. Fantasy? Big companies leak data either through ineptitude or dishonesty all the time. You might not care, but I do!

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