Geeks2U Promise
We guarantee you'll love our fast, friendly service - or we'll refund your money.  
133,572 Happy Customers & Counting
Need tech support?
1300 769 448
Extended hours, 7 days a week
Home  /  geekspeak  /  What does privacy mean for you online?

What does privacy mean for you online?

Tags : 

There’s been a recent storm of protest regarding the revelation that Apple’s iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) store the location of accessed mobile phone towers and GPS signals for a twelve month period on the devices themselves, and then, when synchronised back to your PC, store them as part of the backup. The issue here is twofold; firstly, that the data collection’s been done with little notification to the end users. Secondly, that it’s trivially easy to use the synchronising computer to read all of this information; in short where you’ve been with your device over the last year.

The first point is largely one of interpretation; Apple maintains that there’s mention of location services in the lengthy end user licence agreement (EULA) that you click through whenever iTunes needs an update or you buy a new iOS device. You know the one; the one that virtually nobody stops and reads because it comprises dozens of pages of near incomprehensible legalese anyway? In any case, switching off location services isn’t quite enough; an iPhone or iPad will still get a rough read from nearby mobile phone towers if you’re using 3G data anyway.

The second one is something that is becoming all too common, and it’s something that many of us give away for free in any case. Apple’s lack of security regarding the database on your host PC is a worry all of its own, but plenty of other companies make money — and some make their entire income — from the kinds of personal information that devices and services ask us to reveal. If you’ve used FourSquare, or have a Facebook account, or use certain Google services, there’s an immense amount of data tracking going on. Facebook’s particularly notable, as its defaults for many services, including the “places” facility that indicates exactly where you are at a given point in time are to allow all sorts of data display and data mining, all in the name of delivering advertising to you. Google, likewise, does collect data from Android smartphone devices, but states it does so anonymously. Still, again, Google likes having data on preferences, and again it’s to do with delivering advertising.. for now.

Quite how this kind of thing hits you will obviously depend on your own personal preferences as well. Highly extroverted types may enjoy broadcasting every little detail of their lives, whether it’s location details via FourSquare or personal thoughts via Twitter, while those of a more introverted nature, or those with either a reason to stay somewhat incognito (for better or worse reasons, whatever they may be) will be naturally wary of any kind of data collection.

So what’s the solution? There isn’t a simple way these days to fall off the radar of everybody all the time (and only the most introverted would want to), but it’s certainly worth thinking about how you use online services, not to mention mobile broadband services, and what that data usage says about you. If you’re uncomfortable with that data being available to others — not necessarily broadcast public, but undeniably recorded — then careful consideration of your technology usage would seem wise.


Recent News

Video conferencing used to be reserved just for international clients and fancy board rooms, but that’s not the case in 2020. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, video conferencing has become the norm for work, socialising and even events. But when it comes to connecting virtually, what’s the best video conferencing app or software? In this

One of the key issues for technology is power, and as we’ve shifted to more portable gadgets – from mobile phones and tablets to laptops replacing desktops – keeping them charged has become a more complex affair. Your phone might have one charging plug, your tablet another, and your laptop one more again, leading to

As you’re probably aware, Facebook’s recently been making some very big changes to the way Australians use its services. Specifically, and in reaction to the media bargaining laws before Parliament, Facebook opted to instead block any Australian user from sharing news from any Australian or International news source, as well as blocking international users from

Your hard drive is one of the most important parts of your computer or laptop because it’s where everything is stored. Your hard drive stores all your programs, applications, files and photos, so it can be very stressful and frustrating if something goes wrong. Almost everyone encounters a hard drive error at least once in

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Learn about the precautions we are taking and our new contactless pick-up and remote service options. Read More
Get help setting up your home office or homework area today. Learn More