Great coverage, as usual, in the Wall Street Journal about your smartphone apps sending information “back to the mothership” without users’ knowledge or consent. It turns out that many apps on the popular iPhone and Andriod systems have been sending all kinds of information back to the apps’ creators and/or third party marketing companies – all without user consent.
Among the items often sent – your unique phone ID and your current geographic location. Creepy stuff! This topic brings up a lot of really interesting questions about where the line is when it comes to online tracking. I’ve often said “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” when it comes to design and marketing. Trust is still an incredibly important part of any transaction or relationship. Passing personally identifiable information, without consent, is a big deal. Add to that the fact that is a lot harder, and in fact sometimes impossible, to control this access on a mobile device and you’ve got a whole lot of people who are being tracked in one way or another who have no idea it is even happening. That can’t be a good thing.
The Mobile Marketing Association is working on “comprehensive set of mobile privacy guidelines” in response to these recent revelations.
Read the full coverage at the WSJ.