Big Brother mobile device in our pockets

File:Nokia Lumia 800.jpgFolks don’t like the idea of having their movements stalked by cameras or tracking devices – and yet we willingly carry round a device that has been tracking everything we do.

And we use that device in preference to other devices such as watches, PC’s and cameras – devices without tracking information embedded into the device.

So why are we so happy to carry around devices that are constantly monitoring us?

Information about our whereabouts can come in useful when we are trying to find our lost phones.  The Find my phone feature on the Nokia Lumia is particularly handy.

Location information can also be very useful to the police or the emergency services who can use the device data for pinpointing the location of someone who may have been injured and called for help.  Location information from mobile phones certainly helped to find the murderer of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman as the device recorded the last cell connecting to the phone.

Information about the cell log on, cell access, and the last location of the cell before the phone is switched off gives vital clues in the hunt for evidence in cases such as these.

Frictionless sharing helps us automatically let our friends and colleagues know what we have been doing.  Now frictionless data from our phones, can help advertisers give us targeted adverts and services that we should want.

Apple users were annoyed to discover that the iPhone tracked their location and that a security flaw could mean that data might get into the wrong hands. The data could be accessed without needing a court order.

And we use our phones data plan a lot:

Activity

Minutes per day

Browsing the internet

24.81

Checking social networks

17.49

Playing games

14.44

Listening to music

15.64

Making calls

12.13

Checking/writing emails

11.1

Text messaging

10.2

Watching TV/films

9.39

Reading books

9.3

Taking photographs

3.42

Total

128

 

According to this survey from 02, we spend over 53 minutes per day either browsing, using social networks or reading and writing emails.  And we use our phones more often than other devices.  The O2 survey also shows us which devices we are turning away from:

  • Over half (54%) say they use their phones in place of an alarm clock
  • Almost half (46%) have dispensed with a watch in favour of using their smartphone
  • Two-in-five (39%) have switched to use their phone instead of a separate camera
  • Over one quarter use their phone instead of a laptop (28%)
  • One in ten have got shot of a games console in favour of their handset (11%)
  • One in twenty smartphone users have switched to use their phone in place of a TV (6%) or reading physical books (6%)

So there are good and bad reasons for having a tracking device monitoring your whereabouts and location.  We blithely accept location access from our devices – yet we complain about invasion of our privacy and intrusion. We want to keep our kids safe – and yet we want to have the privacy we need.

Is there a balance?  Can we rely on the police and emergency services to respect that our data is never shared with any third parties – unless we need  to rely on their services?

Or do we accept that in our always on, 24 x 7 state, someone is watching our every move – just in case…

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Credit: Kiwi Flickr

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2 thoughts on “Big Brother mobile device in our pockets

  1. cookeyahpasswordbank

    Nice question raising article!
    Remember the dystopia novels of Orwell and Huxley?
    The fear they may have raised about big brother and machines replacing human emotions
    seems to either have mellowed or data security systems have emerged that do an effective job keeping
    private information from the technology companies we have come to depend on.

    1. eileenb Post author

      Ooh yes, we are slowly being assimilated to naturally expect this to happen. Good point :-)
      thanks for the comnent…

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