Technology, Privacy and Us{2}

by Bernard T

A map of location data stored in an unencrypted file on the iPhone of a reporter, April 22, 2011

One of the articles I read this week was about how companies and the government sometimes abuse the trust that people put on them. It started off by mentioning how Apple Iphones a year ago or so were saving detailed unencrypted information on their user’s locations and uploading it to any computer they were connected to. Further research later that year revealed that Google Android devices were also guilty of doing this and at that time both devices had started sending these information back to Google and Apple. Almost all users affected by this practice did not know it was going on or did they have any idea on how to stop it. Now, it has been revealed that sometime earlier this year that software was installed into millions of smart phones that tracked the owner’s personal information and location. Finding this out somewhat upset me but I was not surprised, before reading this article, I personally did not see anything wrong with this practice when used for advertising purposes or when its used to help serve the consumer better. Issues of privacy and anonymity are taken seriously by many Americans, I know a lot of people who are against anyone knowing information about them that they did not share voluntarily, even though that information is used for something as harmless as advertisement. The article opened up my eyes to the dangers of information gathering on unsuspecting  consumers and it even gave an example of how stalkers were exploiting the information gathered by the cell phones to harass their victims . Although it might seem hopeless, our government here in the Untied States have been trying to counter this threat to privacy by introducing legislation into the Constitution that force companies to adhere to the privacy acts. One such law was proposed last week, the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights which should help because it updates the laws already in place to apply to mobile devices, computers and other similar devices.
I believe that what’s happening with the privacy issues above affects our industry as well. Since security is a “privacy” issue it very much applies to databases because one of the main reasons we make databases is to hold secure information that you want to be kept secret, for the most part. Security and stability is a big part of our future careers and knowing about these issues is very important and should help us become more aware of threats that we can soon face. Having the responsibility over people’s private information should not be taken lightly and the laws in place help but by no means are they perfect, breaching of our data has a profound affect on our lives and its every American’s right to have privacy and its up to us to respect and adhere to these laws because if we do, we will become better at our jobs and employers will see this and reward us for it.


Sen Al Franken. (March 2, 2012). Privacy and Civil Liberties in the Digital Age. [WEB]. Retrieved March 2, 2012 from nken-privacyliberties/?utm_source=Contextly&utm_me dium=RelatedLinks&utm_campaign=Interesting.