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Telcos Waking Up To the Value of Your Location

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the cdrs-from-your-cars dept.

Communications 178

holy_calamity writes "Cell phone networks represent probably the most effective data collectors of all time: almost everyone's movements and communications are logged in some way by these firms thanks to the ubiquity of cell phones. Now they're beginning to wake up to the value of that data, as researchers mine call records to study travel and social patterns at previously unimaginable scales. Not surprisingly, some are thinking about how to monetize that data, too."

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178 comments

What's next, monetizing what people talk/text? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32374742)

This is just more of the slope we are going down. I'm sure that soon, telcos will realize they have a nice stream of info they can mine/monetize by attaching voice recognition software to people chatting, and then sell that data, either "aggregate", or person by person and identifiable.

Europe actually has lawmakers who might pass privacy laws. Maybe the EU can start by attaching severe penalties for using location information for anything but critical legal info?

Value (4, Funny)

anarche (1525323) | more than 3 years ago | (#32374760)

Did someone say cheaper phone calls??

"Value Added" (4, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#32374854)

My guess is that the companies will try to charge their customers more for "location based services," and also charging the companies that use location data to actually provide those "services."

Re:"Value Added" (5, Funny)

siloko (1133863) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375000)

My guess is they sell this data to the corrupt motherfuckers who are running our country so they know exactly where any miscreants are as soon as the do something remotely questionable! Bastards! Wait . . . there's someone at the door . . . I'll be right b

Re:"Value Added" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375114)

Target 1133863 has been eliminated for non-compliance.

Re:"Value Added" (0)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375536)

This is why I don't have an iPhone.

My phones have user removable batteries. When I want the phone to be off, it's definitely off.

Track this

Re:"Value Added" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376112)

You think WAY too highly of yourself.

Re:"Value Added" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376238)

I am perfectly fine with it, compared to any iphone user who does not have any self-respect.

Re:"Value Added" (1)

WCguru42 (1268530) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375572)

My guess is that the companies will try to charge their customers more for "location based services," and also charging the companies that use location data to actually provide those "services."

If it came to it I would pay to not be apart of this service. It doesn't make sense that one would have to and it's a shame that eventually you won't be able to go after telcos for disseminating every last iota of information they have on you.

Re:Value (3, Funny)

Akido37 (1473009) | more than 3 years ago | (#32374856)

Did someone say cheaper phone calls??

Yes, cheaper phone calls are why they're doing this. And with all that extra money you'll save, I have this great bridge in Brooklyn you should really check out.

Re:Value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32374864)

You're funny.

Re:Value (3, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 3 years ago | (#32374900)

SMS charges are absolutely ludicrous.

It amazes me that telcos can get away with charging so much for such a minimally network-intensive service.

Re:Value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375378)

SMS charges are absolutely ludicrous.

It amazes me that telcos can get away with charging so much for such a minimally network-intensive service.

And yet people pay them anyway, because the service has value to them. Look, the way business works is not charging based on cost + reasonable profit, but based on what people are willing (and able) to pay.

Or you could not use SMS (like me), or use mobile email (like me) or a free SMS service.

Example: VCRs haven't changed much in the last 10 years, but their retail price is next to nothing, because no one wants to buy them - everyone wants DVD or bluray.

Re:Value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375624)

Or you could not use SMS (like me), or use mobile email (like me) or a free SMS service.

Mobile email incurs the same charges as SMS.

Re:Value (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375750)

[citation needed]

Text messages are about 10p for 140 characters (or whatever), data rates are cheaper than that even on mobile phones. If you have a contract and are really that much of a phone junky, then you may have "unlimited" texts or data anyway though.

Supply AND demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375978)

Look, the way business works is not charging based on cost + reasonable profit, but based on what people are willing (and able) to pay.

Yes and no. Price is the intersection of supply and demand; your statements are focusing exclusively on the demand side of the equation. The supply of bandwidth to deliver SMS messages is virtually infinite since they ride for free on the cellular system's control channels (which is why they are limited to 140 characters). I tried to verify your claim about the price of VCRs versus DVDs (since my recollection is that they both have a retail price of next-to-nothing despite the difference in demand) but I had trouble since Best Buy doesn't even sell a VCR that doesn't also include a DVD player. The only stand-alone VCRs on the Walmart website were specialty models (one with a time-lapse feature the other with PC output) that were more expensive than the cheapest Bluray player. Low demand alone doesn't force a lower price since supply also drops and the item becomes a niche product.

Re:Value (2, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375800)

It's called "charging what the traffic will bear", and it's not "getting away" with anything - it's extremely smart pricing.

Re:Value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376320)

It's called "charging what the traffic will bear", and it's not "getting away" with anything - it's extremely smart pricing.

Actually it's more like price fixing, since every carrier charges the same for an SMS.

Re:Value (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376152)

I pay $30 per month to AT&T. For that insanely high price, my wife, our two kids, and I can all send unlimited text messages, including MMS messages with attached pics. Each of us sends an average of about 1000 messages per month; that works out to 0.75 per message. Not 75, 0.75. I honestly don't get where the hate on SMS charges comes from.

Re:Value (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#32374950)

No, but your Google results are now half price...
Seriously though, are they only finding this out now? Including Google who already used this service in the mobile version of Google Maps? I really don't think so...

Re:Value (1)

stupid_is (716292) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375370)

No, they're not finding this out now, it's nothing new. For example, IBM offer a datamining service to do all sorts [ibm.com]. Just search for "Social Network Analysis" and there's lots of stuff going on.

Re:Value (1)

Darth_brooks (180756) | more than 3 years ago | (#32374956)

Let me say this as clearly as possible:

NO.

now, let me rephrase that question into one with a positive response:

"Did someone say 'new revenue stream for the telcos'?"

Re:Value (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375188)

I just wished the iPhone and Android let me have a background easy scripting language like python.

It's what I missed when I finally had to switch away from the Nokia platform. Being able to write a small script that sent a position update to MY SERVER every 5 minutes.

It was cool to see the lights come on and the garage door open when I pulled in the driveway and got off the bike. It was typically a 2.5 minute delay from when I pulled in the driveway and when the system detected I was home from the gps reporting to activate everything. Perfect timing as I then had my helmet off, took off the jacket and unstrapped the backpack from the seat.

Come on Google and Apple, let us do cool stuff with our phones!

Re:Value (4, Informative)

Steve S (35346) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375298)

Here you go:
http://code.google.com/p/android-scripting/

"Scripts can be run interactively in a terminal, in the background, or via Locale. Python, Perl, JRuby, Lua, BeanShell, JavaScript, Tcl, and shell are currently supported"

Re:Value (1)

mrops (927562) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375328)

Nothing stopping you except for maybe learning a new language. With Android, you don't even need a fancy certificate to install your code on the device. SDK comes with a utility to do it.

Only problem is, you will need to learn Android development, if you have played with java, its quite straight forward. Google's tutorials are great too.

Personally, I feel more comfortable with Java than with python :)

Re:Value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375662)

2.5 minute delay? doesn't sound practical at all... don't you mean 2.5 seconds?

Re:Value (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375776)

Actually a 5 minute delay. I only would transmit every 5 minutes to keep the battery life nearly the same as it was without the script running. and 2.5 minutes is less than the time it took for me to do what I needed in the driveway to get off the bike, etc.. worked great and was highly practical. Some days it all happened as I turned into the drive, others it would take about 3 minutes. I almost never had to wait for it. (except when the internet was down at home and it did not get updates.)

if I did an update every 2.5 seconds my cellphone battery would be dead in 3 hours as it would be in a constant data transfer mode.

Plus my trigger radius is somewhat large. IT's easy from the data to detect if I am headed home by position updates and location. so making smarter decisions on the data I can extrapolate my intentions and make the trigger radius bigger thus minimizing the delay when I get to the garage.

Although I am a laid back guy. Waiting a minute is nothing to me, some people freak out and go on a rampage when they have to wait 1 second. A buddy of mine is like that.. I love torturing him by making him wait all the time.

Re:Value (1)

voidptr (609) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375718)

iPhone OS 4.0 will have the ability for a user app to receive background events from major location changes.

Re:Value (1)

jmrives (1019046) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376144)

There is nothing preventing you from doing this on the Android platform. Granted, it is a little more involved than writing a script and scheduling the script to run periodically. You will have to write it in Java. Using Google's SDK and their Eclipse plug-in, this is a fairly trivial task.

Re:Value (0, Troll)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376306)

>> I just wished the iPhone and Android let me have a background easy scripting language like python.

Out of aboe two, you know which one already offers it, and which one will never.

Re:Value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376460)

Your wife and I liked it too. No more of those embarrasing "hiding in the wardrobe" moments for me !

Re:Value (1)

splatter (39844) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376490)

Or this?

http://www.saurik.com/id/5 [saurik.com]

Cydia has a python package for apple. The "Appbackup" application uses it. Something tells me your posting about a non-jailbroke phone cause the previous poster linked for android as well.

Re:Value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375038)

Did someone say cheaper phone calls??

No.

Re:Value (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375306)

Yeah, I welcome lower cell phone bills once they get this working. This will lower my bills, right? Right???

Re:Value (1)

Hylandr (813770) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375520)

Actually more expensive.

They will charge for the 'feature' of alerting you to nearby events, concerts, or sales. and advise where you can buy the tickets for those concerts or text you with why you should walk into the Wal-Mart instead of Target that you happen to be down the street from, approaching at 50 mph in a 35 zone and btw, your traffic ticket's in the mail.

Nevermind the fact that they will more than likely be selling this 'service' to said companies thereby double dipping the cash cow.

I would have my tin hat on if this weren't really going to happen.

- Dan.

I cant believe.... (1)

tlongshore (1775768) | more than 3 years ago | (#32374894)

I cant believe that AT&T took this long to figure out that they hold such valuable data. Verizon et al. will soon follow suit surely. City planning seems obvious and its also in TFA, but I cant seem to think of other applications for this data. Outdoor Advertising?

Re:I cant believe.... (1)

Peach Rings (1782482) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375252)

Probably because phones (you remember phone calls right?) used to have that easy option to turn "Location" to off except for E911 use. You could set it and forget it. But now that everyone has a smart phone or feature phone, they use it for services like apps and have that location tracking enabled.

So... (1)

KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) | more than 3 years ago | (#32374938)

Time to get more cell phones to use as decoys?

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375110)

Time to get more cell phones to use as decoys?

Yes. I was thinking about catching some homeless dogs, putting the phones on them and setting them free. That'll hopefully create enough random movements. You can also try with pidgins, though you need smaller phones.
I call this method 'animal entropy'.

Re:So... (1)

WillDraven (760005) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375360)

All this just to mess with some sociologists research data? Man, people go to great lengths to be dickheads these days.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375538)

No, it's to make the location data so useless that the cell companies give up on trying to use it.

Sociologist research projects are just collateral damage.

(Damn! I have having to "Submit" to post a comment)

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375646)

I don't think you need to be so paranoid. The telcos have always known the exact location of every landline that people have had for the past 60 years.

This has already been done before... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32374994)

Jack Dorsey (Twitter Founder) did this with bike couriers, ambulances, and fire trucks. Mologogo (http://www.mologogo.com/) allows you to do this somewhat as part of a social network, Google Latitude allows you to see who's close by. I wouldn't be surprised if we are already being tracked.

As for ways for telcos to monetize this, I would imagine this data would make a PI's job a lot easier--as well as an unwanted stalker--individuals' locations in aggregate would be useful for real-time traffic data, or even for commuting stats. It sort of reminds me of a game called Monopoly Tycoon and how I could see how shoppers in my city were moving, and place my stores to maximize foot traffic.

Re:This has already been done before... (4, Informative)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375128)

I'm pretty sure this will fall afoul of some existing law regarding wiretapping or some such. Unless, of course, the customer opts in, or fails to opt out.

Re:This has already been done before... (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375556)

Existing laws can easily be changed. Especially if there's lots of money to be made. Besides, they'll tell you all about it somewhere in the 6th page of fine print on your cell phone contract.

Re:This has already been done before... (1)

Nukenbar (215420) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376244)

As a former ADA, i can tell you the cell site records are already key evidence in many types of crimes. Cell site records may only show what tower a cell phone is hitting, but just being able to show what neighborhood someone was in might be enough to break an alibi defense or show a pattern.

Maybe we should charge them? (4, Insightful)

casings (257363) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375024)

If government subsidized telcos want to use my data to make money, I think I will charge them for it. After all what travels on their tubes isn't their data, otherwise they couldn't be labeled common carriers.

Re:Maybe we should charge them? (5, Insightful)

ScaredOfTheMan (1063788) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375136)

Tell that to the Credit Reporting Bureaus that use your data to make money. My money says Telco will simply see this as gravy, and not pass along any of the financial benefit to the customer.

Re:Maybe we should charge them? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375320)

That's fine. I rarely get useful phonecalls on my mobile anyway, excluding at the weekend. I might just start turning it off, or leaving it at home.

The only mobile calls I get at work are social. Maybe this isn't such a bad idea.

Re:Maybe we should charge them? (2, Funny)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375368)

I think the phone companies will try to charge you for this. That would be more in keeping with their other behavior.

Re:Maybe we should charge them? (1)

SnowDog74 (745848) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375620)

Telco's aren't owned by the government, and they aren't the only method of communication available to you. If you want to "Charge" them, though, the easiest way to do so is to not use their networks. Using their networks means the creation of data that isn't otherwise created without signal traversing their equipment... You consent to that being their data by using their services.

Boycott them.

Re:Maybe we should charge them? (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376210)

"Government subsidized telcos"? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! Good one. There hasn't been a government subsidized telco in the US since, well, ever.

Anybody knows the details of location measurement? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375098)

I wondered some time ago how pinpointing the location of mobile phone works in practice. I imagine one based on power measurement would be rather sloppy. So is it based on the delay of signal arrival measured at each participating base station? (the main limitation being the precision and synchronisation of clocks in base stations) Something else?

Re:Anybody knows the details of location measureme (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375190)

GPS

Re:Anybody knows the details of location measureme (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375200)

Wikipedia, see Mobile_phone_tracking

Re:Anybody knows the details of location measureme (1)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375202)

Based on how Google Latitude and Maps work when I turn off the GPS info on my phone, I'm not sure if they bother with getting any more granular than whatever cell tower you are running off of. This gives several miles worth of error, but still pretty close, all things considered.

Re:Anybody knows the details of location measureme (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375272)

If you walk around then your mobile logs at least into one mobile cell. If there are three cells around you then you can do triangulation. There's an open source project that can make use of this data from within your mobile: http://opencellid.org/ [opencellid.org]

Re:Anybody knows the details of location measureme (1, Informative)

Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375604)

Only needs two, the third point of the triangle in "triangulation" is you.

Re:Anybody knows the details of location measureme (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375736)

Draw two points (the two towers you claim are sufficient). Now draw circles around those towers (Representing the information each tower has, your distance from the tower. Make sure they overlap, to represent a situation where the equipment is reporting accurate information.).

Now count the intersections of the circles.

Re:Anybody knows the details of location measureme (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376076)

Triangulation isn't hard, but you're doing it wrong.

Re:Anybody knows the details of location measureme (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375286)

Well, without a GPS in the phone it isn't worth much (though most have it this day, making it much easier of course). I saw this because a friend gave me his old phone while I wait to get an Incredible in a couple of weeks and it doesn't have a GPS and even when it estimates the location within 400 meters (the lowest I've ever scene) it isn't even that close (actual location is probably closer to 600+ meters away). Sometimes it even places the estimate "within 1,100 meters", with that being the largest area I've seen so far.

prepaid is the way to go for privacy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375174)

If you care at all about your privacy, buy prepaid with cash. They don't have any way to tie you to the specific phone that way.

Otherwise, if you give them all your data, don't be surprised when they use it for all kinds of things you didn't imagine.

Most people seem to take the philosophy of, "I'll just ask nicely and maybe they won't go all big brother on me". Me, I try to push towards the philosophy of, "Let's not give them this in the first place. Then there's no issue because it *cannot* be a problem".

Not just for this but other things too. I admit it requires a few sacrifices, but really much less than you might think. Mostly what it requires is *thinking*.

Re:prepaid is the way to go for privacy (3, Insightful)

zuckie13 (1334005) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375264)

Until they force you to show ID to buy the prepaid phones.

Re:prepaid is the way to go for privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375332)

In theory, but in practice I haven't heard even vague proposals of doing something like that. Buying things with cash is still quite legal.

It does mean you can't get the fanciest phones, but that would change pretty fast if 90% of the market went that way.

Re:prepaid is the way to go for privacy (3, Insightful)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375586)

They don't have any way to tie you to the specific phone that way.

Yeah. Because a phone that's been used to call your Mom, your job, your Wife, your girlfriend, your bank and your favorite dealer will be virtually impossible to tie to you.

Re:prepaid is the way to go for privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375692)

In my country you have to give an ID and an address to buy a prepaid phone.

Re:prepaid is the way to go for privacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375706)

If you care at all about your privacy, buy prepaid with cash. They don't have any way to tie you to the specific phone that way.

Ha. The phone is still at your house, your office, your commute route on a regular basis.

Unless you turn it off, but then it isn't that useful as a phone.

And based on calling patterns (who you call, who calls you) a lot of information can be determined. Some of those people know who you are.

Well then, ... (5, Funny)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375208)

I guess it's a good thing I don't have a cell phone. No cell phone, no tracking. No tracking, no data mining.

About the best the marketers know about me is from my grocery shopping card, though what they glean from my buying a 5 lb. tub of Crisco, two 48-count packs of condoms, three baby bottles and the 5 lb. jar of grape jelly every two weeks is up to them.

Re:Well then, ... (1)

mackil (668039) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376528)

Crisco, condoms, baby bottles and grape jelly... hmmm.... I think I've seen this movie, you fetishist you.

FamilyNet customer support (3, Insightful)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375278)

"So, we noticed that you spent an hour at a known brothel today. The good news is we offer our special customers preferential rates for non-geographic billing!"

This-Why they want your name on your phone (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375280)

My theory, telcos wanted to sell this information to the likes of Google, Yahoo and Miscrosoft (and facebook and Pizza Hut etc...).
They didn't want the negative backslash, so they asked the Government to ask them for their users name, transference of Guilt.
The Government saw this as a chance to implement the kind of inter-federal surveillance that would make the founding fathers spin in their graves.
Profit!

Re:This-Why they want your name on your phone (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375732)

Assuming you aren't a drug dealer who's gonna use the phone for 24 hours then dump it, they don't need your name. They have the names of some of the people you call, and information about where you go. From that, they can figure out who you are.

Re:This-Why they want your name on your phone (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376380)

Wait are you suggesting that the purpose of this is to catch drug dealers that go through cell phones like Doritos? Wanna bet the chances such criminals are going to use phones registered under their real identities?

And no they can't get information when I call another prepaid phone, that they cannot get the names of every single individual out there drives them crazy.

Blackmail seems an interesting option (4, Funny)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375310)

"This is anautomated message for Mr Smith. Hello Mr Smith, we've noticed that you've been spending your friday mornings at hotel 6 a lot, and while you commit adultery with Ms. Doolan who also spends a lot of time there with you, you may want to consider taking a short detour to Delco Brand Drugstore for some condoms to avoid your wednesday trips to the free VD clinic!"

Why stop at location? (5, Interesting)

Fractal Dice (696349) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375336)

They can sell information on everyone you called, use speech recognition to monetize the content of your calls. And since you voluntarily brought a phone into your life, why turn off the microphone just because you aren't making a call? Just continuously record everything in the vicinity - there must be a wealth of data there that someone would pay for.

If data-mining of everything that touches the service works for facebook, why not telcos?

Re:Why stop at location? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375588)

Shut up shut up shut up!!!

Do NOT give them this idea!

Fuck!

Re:Why stop at location? (2)

ChiRaven (800537) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375744)

In the days of the Bell System, and even afterwards, there was such a thing as "customer proprietary network information." Anything the customer owned, did, or said that touched the telephone network was protected by the strictest privacy protections except to the minimum extent required by the explicit order of a court. Anyone who breached this principle lost thier job, period, dot!

Somewhere along the line this principle apparently got lost, and our society is much the poorer for it.

Why stop there? (2, Funny)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375764)

They can sell information on everyone you called, use speech recognition to monetize the content of your calls. And since you voluntarily brought a phone into your life, why turn off the microphone just because you aren't making a call? Just continuously record everything in the vicinity - there must be a wealth of data there that someone would pay for.

Why stop there? Most phones these days come with at least one camera, many with two. Activate both, and stream the data back to a data collection point. Do image search and color-gradient analysis, pick out those that indicate some hanky panky, hire some folks in the far east for a dollar a day to comb through the video data and pick out only those streams that show people in a comprimising position, and then monetize in one of the following ways:

1. Blackmail your victim^H^H^H^H^H customer (a monthly fee not to tell the missus/mister what you've been up to in your cubical at 10pm last night, or to not send your family intimate pics of your honeymoon, etc.)

2. For those who won't or can't pay, hire another set of people with video editing skills to weave together full length videos of people's intimiate moments, and sell online.

3. Charge a premium for videos of people who 'live near you'.

4. Profit!

Bonus points for those iPhone holding iSlaves ... they can provide the content, but their 'freedom from porn' ensures they can't watch it (at least not on their iShackles).

I mean, it's not as if we have any real rights anyway, once there's a bottom line to be made, and it isn't like this is any creepier than the 'dead peasants insurance' most of our employers have taken out on us already.

Re:Why stop at location? (3, Insightful)

Phillibuster (1232966) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376274)

why turn off the microphone just because you aren't making a call? Just continuously record everything in the vicinity

They'd never do that, because then they'd have to upgrade their networks... ;)

Beginning? (2, Insightful)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375472)

Beginning to wake up to the idea? I got out of the cellular biz back in '95, and "location based service" was being talked about then. It's hardly a new idea, and it's one the telcos have been drooling over for more than a decade. Maybe they're finally figuring out ways to make it pay off.

Telecom Personal in Argentina (2, Interesting)

cokegen (925518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375516)

I'm almost every day at my cave programming and that stuff. In 2009 I decided to go to the Rally that took place in Cordoba, Argentina (I'm from the neighboring province Santa Fe) and after I went back I started to get spam SMS's that advertised Rally related stuff. I have Telecom Personal and of course, I can confirm they either sell or use (themselves) my location info to at least try to sell me stuff. I can only assume they actually use location data for that and other "darker" purposes.

Vodafone woke up years ago (2, Interesting)

Gyske (687847) | more than 3 years ago | (#32375554)

TomTom has been using cell phone location data, provided by Vodafone, since 2006 for traffic (congestions and travel times) information. See it at work (for free) here: TomTom HD Traffic [tomtom.com]

This is g0at5ex (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32375906)

Theo de Raadt, one from the si3elines, forwards we must problem; a few

Yikes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32376180)

That IS a scary thought.

I can see AT & FaceGoogle having a a field day with it.

cell phones are going to replace everything (0, Offtopic)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376232)

your wallet, cash and credit cards: just swipe your cellphone

your house keys: just swipe your cellphone

your computer: the latest generation of cellphones rival desktops or laptops from 5 years ago, and surpass them in terms of functionality

your gps, your toll booth tag, your subway card, your taxes... everything

kids will get them when they enter kindergarten (and parents will watch their location). you'll carry a cellphone from cradle to grave, and won't be able to live in civilization without one

you practically won't even know your own name without a cellphone, or be able to organize your life, or be able to function in society

the problem is that this makes the cell phone absolutely essential, and therefore the privacy concerns will butt heads with the cellphone's unrivaled functionality, and so most people won't even blink

the only protection from this is a legal framework. no technological solution can exist: you're either on the network, or you're not. and if you are on the network, they control the entry to the network, they set the terms about what device you use, and therefore they own you

i suppose some wifi only concept will exist, but its functionality will be greatly reduced, and the networks will ensure that free wifi won't threaten their dominance

some sort of competition between providers will help keep them honest, so we don't want the world to be swallowed by verizon. but of course the government will be able to snoop on everything, and so, as i said before, only legal limitations on the government's power can possibly curtail this (and even then, they'll snoop with provisions for "reasonable" suspicion or "terrorist related" activity)

inevitable conclusion: the cell phone will kill the concept of privacy in modern society, and functioning in modern society will be impossible without a cellphone

ugly

I'm beginning to wake too! (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376240)

I am beginning to see value in turning my phone off and leaving it at home... maybe even turning off service.

Where are our consumer protection agencies when we need them? At every turn, the people we exchange money with are sharing our personal details for further profit. This should be illegal without compensation. If I am used in generating their content, and to be clear I *AM* being used, then I should get a cut of the profit at the very least and most certainly the ability to opt out with complete confirmation and the ability to sue if they violate that status.

Just one quick item (1)

netruner (588721) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376340)

Something that needs to be said -

Your cell phone is not truly "off" unless the battery is removed.

We now return you to your regular nonsense....

Why can't they use this data fix their coverage? (3, Insightful)

apenzott (821513) | more than 3 years ago | (#32376386)

It seems odd that now that the carriers have GPS coordinates of where their subscribers are using their services, that they seem unwilling to use this data (GPS coordinates and dropped calls) to improve their coverage and services where the customer needs it.

Oh, that entails spending money rather than making money. (Fail.)

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