The people that can find ~ an information, data and privacy blog
More powerful than ever
"Every city, every neighbourhood, every location on the planet is unique with its own collection of people, places and events."
Not as benign as it seems
1. When geolocation data gives away more sensitive data about who you are.
We know geolocation data reveals where you spend your time, but what if where you go makes significant statements about other parts of your life? If you visit a hospital once a week, are you seeking care for a treatment or regularly visiting a friend? Regular trips to your church, mosque or synagog reveal your religious affiliation. A closet member of the LBQT community who meets others in the a community at nightspot can be outed by data. It’s not enough for the data to know what streets you walk and when you opt to head home. With your location data being tracked, and cross-referenced with where you end up, geolocation data now tells us more about an individual than ever.
2. Location-based pricing
Notice things cost more when you get to the store than when you looked online? It could be true. Dynamic pricing, where prices change depend on market demand is well-known where the internet is concerned. Many shoppers are aware that airline prices can go up or down depending on the day you start searching, how often you look, and the intended time of flight. But what if the price depends on your distance from the product?
Retail giant Target recently came under fire for this practice. The store charges $499.99 for a Smart TV via app, yet for one family the price jumped to a whopping $599.99 when the buyers arrived at the store's parking lot. The Target app, it seems, is following you wherever you go, and Target was using that information to decide how much you will pay for an item. Writing for Yahoo Finance, Bob Sullivan comments Target is not the only offender. He’s found stark differences in pricing for car rentals when browsing regularly, and when shopping as an anonymous user. Retail chains have caught on that a significant amount of price-shopping now happens online, and are working their sales to use that in mind. If you're shopping for the best bang for your buck, stay anonymous: then the price you see isn't based on your previous habits.
3. Military tracking
Do you work with the armed forces? Better check with your commanding officer before bringing home that new connected device, even if it looks harmless. In 2018, fitness app Strava came under fire by the United States military. The problem? The fitness app, which tracks the routs of regular runners, was also revealing classified information, including the location of secret army bases. Legislation in Russia now bans military units from publishing information online, and includes the disclosure of geolocation data. The result is a crackdown on smart phones and apps, which share information often without awareness. Connected technology may seem like a godsend to those with family members deployed overseas. After all, current technology means instant communications, and welcome messages from loved ones. When that data can be used to pinpoint group locations however, and put lives in danger, military leaders are deciding the risks far outweigh the rewards.
More to come?
- Geolocation Data Tracking, Part 2: More Ways Location MattersMarch 5, 2019
- First Do No Harm: Health Data Decision ResponsibilityJanuary 31, 2019
- Five Information and Privacy Predictions for 2019January 3, 2019
- Blockchain and Privacy: Still a New Frontier, or a False Start?December 4, 2018
- Pain Points in Biometric System SecurityNovember 5, 2018