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GPS….Gonna Protect Society…really???

on January 19, 2012

No matter how alone we think we are, it seems as if someone usually knows where we are throughout the day.  Whether it is a phone company or Big Brother, now we that someone really does know our every location.  We do not like to think about it, but our phones , aka our lifelines to the outside world, has become a sort of GPS that we willingly carry around in our pockets and bags.  The government and corporations have been trying to convince the public about the good benefits of this technology with arguments like it can help to keep track of wandering children or teenagers or even cheating spouses.  Or these phones can help the government find potential terrorists.  There is also the sales pitch that iPhone apps can help owners locate their lost or stolen phones.

But even with all these benefits, I cannot help but feel that such technology is an invasion to my privacy.  Maybe it is just me, but I think that people should be allowed to do things that they do not want other people to know about, as long as it is not illegal.  Even though many services like Google Latitude have customers “opt in” in order to use their personal phones as a GPS, critics have argued that the public does not what info Google is retaining (even if Google claims that they are retaining nothing).  And even if Google is found to be participating in some kind of wrongdoing, our legal system is behind our technology, so it is doubtful that some form of legal action could successfully take place.  With few legal restrictions, the door has been left open for Google, as they have more opportunities to sell our data to whomever they want to.  But what bothers me the most about these hidden features in our technology is that society is willing to accept it in the name of convenience.  We may not like the fact that Big Brother is spying on us, but I do not know many people who will not carry around a phone, just so no one knows where he or she is.  And the US government recognizes our compliancy in this matter as reports have surfaced that the government is considering tracking our phones without a warrant because “Americans enjoy no “reasonable” expectation of privacy in their or at least their cell phones whereabouts.”  In the end, no matter how Americans feel about a GPS in their cell phones, we will do nothing about it.  For many members of our society, we have no problem complaining or voicing our opinions, but putting those words into actions is a whole other matter.


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