Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google Is Testing a Program That Tracks Your Purchases In the Real World

samzenpus posted about 9 months ago | from the show-us-what-your-bought dept.

Google 160

cold fjord writes "Business Insider reports, Google is beta-testing a program that tracks users' purchasing habits by registering brick-and-mortar store visits via smartphones, according to a report from Digiday. Google can access user data via Android apps or their Apple iOS apps, like Google search, Gmail, Chrome, or Google Maps. If a customer is using these apps while he shops or has them still running in the background, Google's new program pinpoints the origin of the user data and determines if the customer is in a place of business."

cancel ×

160 comments

One! Two! All the way! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365211)

Google! Apple! NSA!

Yaaaaay!

Re:One! Two! All the way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365233)

Yeah its a bit fucking far tbh

Re:One! Two! All the way! (0)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 9 months ago | (#45365457)

You've been scroogled!

Misleading title... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365231)

Nowhere in the article does it say it can track what you buy, there's no way an app can track purchases you made outside of your phone unless it's somehow linked to your bank/credit card account... this is just to track where you were. Basically, Google is stalking you, nothing new there.

Re:Misleading title... (4, Insightful)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about 9 months ago | (#45365263)

Nope, only the credit card companies do that...

Why do you think the big push was made to give everyone a VISA or MC debit card? It provides the banks with an incredible amount of information about you that they can then sell.

Given that my debt cards pay me rewards and I pay them nothing, frankly I don't mind, it isn't like my trips to Walmart are secret or anything.

Another reason why Google should want their Wallet to become used everywhere. Imagine the treasure trove of information if they don't even have to get into the V/MC business, yet can see "everything" you buy because you use your phone as a wallet.

Frankly, for them to have that much information about me, I'd like the phone for free. :)

Re:Misleading title... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365323)

Its nice how people sell privacy for a phone.

Kinda like how there is a quote on bash.org about how people were asked if they would give up their voting right for an ipod, and the best thing to do would be give those that say yes an ipod.

Before you say voting right and privacy are something totally different, they are pretty closely related. Given the number of laws, everybody breaks one, if not more. If you have no privacy, all those things can be known. Maybe you broke the speed limit one moment, your phone could record that, without privacy, the state can use that recorded data and prosecute you.
Remember how you can also lose voting rights after having been convicted of a felony. So no privacy means politicians can take away the voting rights of whoever they chose, based on that everybody but the very careful people break laws (for example laceys act says you can't break the law of any country, ensure you break no muslim laws).

But its just a purchase in walmart...
And tomorrow its just your rape fantasies that somehow get you convicted. Rights are something you fight for every day, not just once and be done with it.

Re:Misleading title... (2)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 9 months ago | (#45365363)

I wouldn't give it up for an ipod, but I could see myself giving it up for a material good. Frankly the US elections just piss me off more than anything, because no matter what you do the same shit keeps getting elected. Politics is just a really cheesy soap opera.

Voting therefore is worth nothing, so I'd trade nothing for something.

You know what's funny is I've actually gone out of my way to deliberately not register to vote, and somehow I've managed to stay registered anyways (for early voting no less, as I keep getting early voting ballots that I just throw away.)

Re:Misleading title... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365777)

I wouldn't give it up for an ipod, but I could see myself giving it up for a material good. Frankly the US elections just piss me off more than anything, because no matter what you do the same shit keeps getting elected. Politics is just a really cheesy soap opera.

Voting therefore is worth nothing, so I'd trade nothing for something.

You know what's funny is I've actually gone out of my way to deliberately not register to vote, and somehow I've managed to stay registered anyways (for early voting no less, as I keep getting early voting ballots that I just throw away.)

You know what's not funny?

It's shallow, apathetic, short-sighted, greedy, ignorant, intellectually-lazy, self-centered assholes like you and those like you over the last ~100 years, who have no belief in anything larger than themselves, their narcissistic navel-gazing Utopian self-delusions, and their next fucking precioussss, that have allowed the evil bastards to take control of everything.

Count my dick with your fucking tonsils you bovine-brained, shallow, greedy, materialistic, worthless, self-centered, narcissistic and intentionally-oblivious herd-instinct piece of amphibian shit. You don't function at any higher level than a fucking animal. You're not even a human-fucking-being! Hell, even a fucking monkey can understand when it's lost it's freedom, and has enough balls to at least fling fucking poo at it's captors!

It would only be cosmic justice, when the SHTF and they roll out the troops on civilians, if you're among the first POS's to catch a .50BMG round square in the face.

Hopefully, for the good of the human gene pool, before you've bred.

Re:Misleading title... (0)

erikkemperman (252014) | about 9 months ago | (#45366165)

shallow, apathetic, short-sighted, greedy, ignorant, intellectually-lazy, self-centered assholes like you

bovine-brained, shallow, greedy, materialistic, worthless, self-centered, narcissistic and intentionally-oblivious herd-instinct piece of amphibian shit

Whoah there, easy on the adjectives, young Padawan.

Re:Misleading title... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45366309)

So cute! Awwwwww *pats head* :) You must be the he edgiest edger who ever did dare to edge.

Re:Misleading title...Your worst enemy is you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45366721)

You might want to re re-evaluate the way you express yourself, you will find that your lack of a concise and intelligent argument is self defeating.
Even if i agree with your sediment, i won't want to associated with your misaligned ramblings.

Re:Misleading title... (2)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about 9 months ago | (#45365727)

While I get what you're saying, another arguement could be made that we're already past that point.

The truth is, way, way too many things are illegal, and not just minor illegal, but felonies.

You're right, everyone breaks some law, somewhere. There is a saying, "it's a poor cop who can't find something to write you a ticket for".

So the fact is, phones or no phones, privacy or no privacy, the real problem is the endless laws for anything and everything. If we don't get that turned back, nothing else will matter.

Sooner or later, we'll all get embedded with chips, the "features" will be worth it to most people. You or I might not, our parents won't, but the next generation will and won't see anything wrong with it.

Phones, technology, privacy, tracking, that isn't the issue, the issue is the power we have given government over our lives in the form of making a million things illegal. If we don't change that, it won't matter.

Re:Misleading title... (2)

Custard Horse (1527495) | about 9 months ago | (#45366697)

You still have control though which is the crucial point. If you revert to paying cash, your trips to Walmart are no longer being tracked.

Let's not get too excited, Google is looking to monetise tracking information in the same was as grocery store reward cards allow the stores to mine purchase data and send you focused offers. The NSA is not interested in your buy one, get one free selections but Google is interested in directing you to their corporate clients based on where you happen to be.

The quid pro quo is that your acceptance of such tracking does provide financial reward. This is an option of which you may wish to avail yourself.

This is not the same as the voting and the ipod analogy not least due to the vagueness of the question. Is it one ipod for one vote or for all future votes? Were the respondent congenital idiots? All important questions..

Re:Misleading title... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365565)

Given that my debt cards pay me rewards and I pay them nothing, frankly I don't mind, it isn't like my trips to Walmart are secret or anything.

Bloody idiot.

Frankly, for them to have that much information about me, I'd like the phone for free. :)

Why would they give you a phone for free when you're quite willing to pay for it and don't value the information anyway? Your trips to Walmart aren't secret, remember?

Re:Misleading title... (2)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about 9 months ago | (#45365739)

If I had anything to do that I really wanted to keep secret from the government, I sure wouldn't use any electronic form of payment.

But the funny thing is, I doubt that cash will remain the way it is now for very long. Give it 20 years, we'll probably have government traceable credit chips to replace cash.

It will be in the name of preventing drug dealers and criminals and money laundering and all that, but it will also make it very hard to do anything financial that the government can't detect.

Re:Misleading title... (2)

Animats (122034) | about 9 months ago | (#45365665)

Why do you think the big push was made to give everyone a VISA or MC debit card? It provides the banks with an incredible amount of information about you that they can then sell.

The funny thing is that banks don't do that much. Their merchant customers don't like their sales info being given to other merchants.

Re:Misleading title... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45366007)

I like your comment. I lot of people scream about privacy when it comes to Google, but in the other hand, these same people do not complain of using credit card for every transaction they do.

It is not fancy and it seems dumb to complain that Visa and MasterCard are tracking your data.

Re:Misleading title... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45366637)

Nope, only the credit card companies do that...

Why do you think the big push was made to give everyone a VISA or MC debit card? It provides the banks with an incredible amount of information about you that they can then sell.

It is not just that. Mastercard and Visa and the likes take a cut of any money spent via their network. It is quite a money maker given that it's like a 2.5% cut...

Re:Misleading title... (1)

smash (1351) | about 9 months ago | (#45365285)

That's why google wallet/NFC payments are being pushed.

Misleading criticism of title... (2)

globaljustin (574257) | about 9 months ago | (#45365483)

You may be **grammatically** correct that Google **technically** is tracking your location not your purchases...

But you're giving Google a free pass here:

Basically, Google is stalking you, nothing new there.

"meh, privacy is dead" right? right??

wrong.

Privacy rights, and Google's accountability to them are as alive as **we the people demand**

We don't have to accept that new tech features must invariably require chipping away at our privacy until Google has enough data to extrapolate anything they want....

You must understand that Google ***IS DEFINITELY*** intending to track people's purchases using this tracking. They do what is known in the industry as "data analysis" where you compare two or more data sets that overlap to fill in missing pieces of information.

Google doesn't need to have access to your financial transactions to track your spending habits.

If you see that as an violation of privacy you don't have to just pretend "privacy is dead"....you can **actually** do something about it...it's called democracy...

Re:Misleading criticism of title... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365551)

You know that you can just disable the location services, right? Or more accurately, not turn them on to start with....

for sure (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 9 months ago | (#45365597)

You know that you can just disable the location services, right?

yes indeed sir...and I agree it's a smart idea

my point is about the greater model that we all accept...that all sofware/hardware companies leverage user features and control against privacy

Re:Misleading criticism of title... (1)

Dracos (107777) | about 9 months ago | (#45365605)

I never have GPS or network location location enabled, but damn if don't still kill that infernal MapsPrefetcherService a dozen times a day, along with a bunch of other crap that insists on running as a service. Google is the reason why I find myself trusting Android a little bit less every day.

Re:Misleading criticism of title... (2)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about 9 months ago | (#45365895)

Turning GPS service "off" is just a software command that looks nice, do you really think you can disable it, short of ripping the GPS chip out of the phone?

If this is a concern of yours, don't have a cell phone, that is, frankly, your only real option. Everything else is just wishful thinking.

Re:Misleading criticism of title... (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 9 months ago | (#45366183)

You must understand that Google ***IS DEFINITELY*** intending to track people's purchases using this tracking. They do what is known in the industry as "data analysis" where you compare two or more data sets that overlap to fill in missing pieces of information.

Goto Flurry.com read what they do and understand this is a Google site they do data analytics. Read the ToS of Angry Birds they pay and
send user data to Flurry.com, in turn Flurry.com shows ADs tailored to you, I'm not sure if Flurry or rovio.com show the ads but you signed into
this just by purchasing Angry Birds or a myriad of other on-line software. I do read the ToS's and privacy statements.

Reading the ToS's and privacy statements is a good way to find what needs to be blocked. in rovio.com 's case it's all spelled out for you.
At least the last time I read it, All mentioned I have blocked ages ago.

Play.Google.com has an application called Android ID it's a small developers program that will give you the ID Flurry.com request to Opt out from.
It's not a number you can find in the about .

Re:Misleading title... (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | about 9 months ago | (#45365859)

Nowhere in the article does it say it can track what you buy, there's no way an app can track purchases you made outside of your phone unless it's somehow linked to your bank/credit card account... this is just to track where you were. Basically, Google is stalking you, nothing new there.

Bluetooth LE beacons can let an enabled app determine your location to a reasonably precise location at a given time - say a checkout line (and as I recall, Android permissions are all or nothing, ask only at install) - it'd be trivial to send that info back to the mother ship. And if Google is partnering with the store, they are probably getting date + time + which register information about purchases made at the store.

I'm sure Google can put two and two together.

And even with iOS's finer grained permissions, experience leads me to believe people tend to just grant permissions whenever they're asked for without thinking about it.

Re:Misleading title... (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 9 months ago | (#45366085)

Nowhere in the article does it say it can track what you buy, there's no way an app can track purchases you made outside of your phone unless it's somehow linked to your bank/credit card account... this is just to track where you were. Basically, Google is stalking you, nothing new there.

Your at 0 people don't want what you noticed seen. The articles quote digiday.com who say "Google declined multiple requests for comment."
and builds an article around it as they have free rein.

Remember there are companies that wish Google harm so expand upon the truth through the media,
There's one more anti-Google misleading article just behind this one, that I'm sure will make the front page soon.

This articles title was scary stuff about Google a company I've put my trust into for many years.
My searches are kept and I've known and expected that for years.

This paragraph tempers feelings felt from the subject:
"Google’s ability to make this connection is predicated on users opting in to location services on their smartphones and thus, in some cases,
being subject to constant location monitoring."

Which I'm very familiar with.

I have Googles own Motorola Xoom, it's rooted/jail broken, but you still need to add the Google applications.
I may change the OS's (update/downgrade); every time I do I'm asked if they can keep track of me and I always refuse,
nothing changes (something not working as punishment). I do feel my not opting in is indeed respected as
I'm asked to opt-in many more times while changing the setting to certain options.

I for one welcome my Google overlords, (1)

Press2ToContinue (2424598) | about 9 months ago | (#45365239)

and their NSA comrades.

Re:I for one welcome my Google overlords, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365271)

Big Brother is here, and he's a Capitalist Tyrant.

Re:I for one welcome my Google overlords, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365317)

The irony is that He still preaches 'Don't do evil'!

Re:I for one welcome my Google overlords, (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365679)

Doubleplusgood

Re:I for one welcome my Google overlords, (5, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#45365369)

Big Brother is here, and he's a Capitalist Tyrant.

Isn't it terribly inconvenient how market research data, which is so commercially useful that companies collect it out of self interest, technological transaction data, which are necessary to do things like route packets, packages, and phone calls, and the data that would be of interest to a surveillance state are so very similar?

That's really why capitalism has such a bright future as a surveillance dystopia. Anybody with enough cash can hire thugs and informants; but can your commie, or your fascist, operate a comprehensive network of informants at a profit, rather than as a massive drain on the consumer economy that might keep the mobs at bay? Anyone with enough thugs and informants can make tracking collars mandatory; but can they make wearers lovingly recharge them nightly, and pay for customized ringtones?

Could even Big Brother get Winston to rack up some credit card debt to finance a 50" HD telescreen, out of a desire to consume premium content in greater comfort and luxury than his lesser neighbors? Bah. Amateurs, the lot of them.

Re:I for one welcome my Google overlords, (1)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about 9 months ago | (#45365753)

In all fairness, my "tracking collar" in the form of my Samsung Galaxy S4 also provides useful features that I like. So it isn't just a one way street, I also get a device that is a pretty powerful computer.

http://youtu.be/lK_cdkpazjI [youtu.be]

That is the "Sight" video, well worth watching. Give it 20 years, half of us will embed these chips in our eyes to allow us to do what you see in the video. And of course this will make us permanently traceable by the government, only a few will figure out how to encrypt it and hide, most will just became data packets for the NSA.

And you're right, people will actually pay for that. :) But it is pretty cool and people will want that, so there you go, our future.

Re:I for one welcome my Google overlords, (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#45365969)

Oh, I don't mean to imply that it's one-sided, that's part of why it works so well. While dramatic (and sometimes fun for its own sake) having to use brute force to compel obedience is relatively expensive and unreliable. It may be a sign of strength; but it's also a sign of incompetence.

The power of the consumer-driven surveillance system is that, at the same time as it provides amazing amounts of information, it is largely seen as non-oppressive, even a collection of features worth paying for. And, unless you just like strutting around like Herr Commandant, a set of mechanisms that is both powerful and has lots of fun gizmos is far superior to one that requires lots of cracking down.

Dear Slashdot... (5, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 9 months ago | (#45365283)

Do you still think Google is trying to stop the NSA from spying on you, when they are gathering the exact same information, and unlike the NSA, don't have any rules restricting their use.

When will we stop saying who can and cannot spy on us and steal our personal information, and start saying that the answer is nobody. Whether you're the NSA, or you're Google, you are evil. The end.

Re:Dear Slashdot... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365315)

So much... common sense! Brain trying... TV restricting... assholes with vague arguments undermining....
**brain sucked out by corporate feeding tube**
>

Re:Dear Slashdot... (2)

m00sh (2538182) | about 9 months ago | (#45365345)

Do you still think Google is trying to stop the NSA from spying on you, when they are gathering the exact same information, and unlike the NSA, don't have any rules restricting their use.

When will we stop saying who can and cannot spy on us and steal our personal information, and start saying that the answer is nobody. Whether you're the NSA, or you're Google, you are evil. The end.

Or you can not use any Google products. Gmail, google maps, search etc are free so that they can advertise to you and collect data on you.

Re:Dear Slashdot... (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 9 months ago | (#45365413)

Or you can not use any Google products. Gmail, google maps, search etc are free so that they can advertise to you and collect data on you.

Funny story. In the early 90s a new network started being used regularily by hundreds of colleges, science labs, and educational facilities. It had been built up for military purposes as an experiment, but after building a new one, the military turned it over to the academic community. It was a global network, massively redundant, and was initially used to exchange files and e-mail. Researchers quickly developed some simple protocols to allow anyone on the network to exchange information freely with anyone else on the network. A need arose to catalog and organize the rapidly increasing number of nodes on this network, and the information just started pouring in. That network... was called the internet.

It's original inventors hoped that this free and equal peer-based network they had built would be used to share human knowledge across cultures around the world, bringing together millions, and now billions, of people together. They never asked for money. They didn't believe in advertising revenue to support it... the people who built and maintained the network did so not out of greed, or desire for wealth, but because they genuinely believed in one of the foundational principles of science:

Knowledge should be free.

I know today it's just a historical footnote, that greed and the desire for wealth has created not one, but seven of the largest companies on the planet, whose sole business plans are to exploit the free exchange of information by putting up artificial barriers and charging for access to things, while spying on us and abusing the data flow... and that today, we just accept this.

But those of us that built the network remember there are other motivations than greed... some of us still build things for others, because we want them to be free. Because we want them to have knowledge, and information -- because we understood, instinctively, that the biggest advances of the 21st century wasn't going to be in science or technology, but in an expanding concept of what it means to be human. We couldn't put it into those words, not then, but we knew it would be important that this resource remain free and open to all -- that the fastest route to human growth, worldwide, everyone, everywhere, would mean making sure knowledge was equally available. Because knowledge is power... and we knew, from tens of thousands of years of human history, that when you try to hold onto knowledge, to power, it corrupts you. It destroys you. It sucks your soul right out and pours in a neverending need for more... more what? More everything.

And so those of us who were around back then recognize Google, and the NSA, and all these other organizations and governments for what they are: An unnatural restriction on the potential of the human race. They're strangling us with their greed. They're creating the next Dark Age... because the power imbalance between the information-rich and the information-poor is growing, exponentially. And Google is one of the central players.

Google... is evil.

Re:Dear Slashdot... (-1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 9 months ago | (#45365491)

I know today it's just a historical footnote

No, it's not a footnote - it's a fairy tale. (Well, I guess legends and other fiction could appear in a footnote...)

Re:Dear Slashdot... (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 9 months ago | (#45365519)

No, it's not a footnote - it's a fairy tale. (Well, I guess legends and other fiction could appear in a footnote...)

"In the earliest days, this was a project I worked on with great passion because I wanted to solve the Defense Department's problem: it did not want proprietary networking and it didn't want to be confined to a single network technology."
-- Vinton Cerf

"It's difficult to imagine the power that you're going to have when so many different sorts of data are available."
-- Tim Berners-Lee

"My goal wasn't to make a ton of money. It was to build good computers."
-- Steve Wozniak

"Artists usually don't make all that much money, and they often keep their artistic hobby despite the money rather than due to it."
-- Linus Torvalds

Shall I continue, or is it sufficiently obvious how wrong you are?

Re:Dear Slashdot... (-1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 9 months ago | (#45366355)

First you have to prove I'm wrong. You've signally failed to do so.

But I shouldn't be surprised, you're terminally clueless.

Re:Dear Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45366437)

First you have to prove I'm wrong. You've signally failed to do so.

But I shouldn't be surprised, you're terminally clueless.

You are right, we have to prove you wrong and that the internet does not exist, neither does Google .. it's just a fairytale ...

We're not suprised with your ignorance, so go back to bed kid, reality is too complicated for you.

Re:Dear Slashdot... (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#45365631)

Knowledge should be free.

Acquiring knowledge has generally been expensive. Libraries cost money for both the building and books. Education costs money, even if it is free to the student. Somebody is paying in some fashion whether it is taxes or time taken from profitable pursuits. The network that you speak of was paid for mainly by taxes, tuition, or profits. The internet has been a wonderful resource to make knowledge easier to access, but the infrastructure costs money. Staff to maintain both information and infrastructure costs money. Even scholars willing to work without pay still need to eat, still need a roof over their head, and a place to sleep.

Like many things Google is a mixed bag. The search engine has been a marvelous resource to find knowledge hidden in the dark corners of the internet. It has contributed to the open source & free software movement. It has helped expand human knowledge. It is a powerful tool for researchers of all sorts, not to mention students, and people in every day life. But as I understand it Google has nearly a million servers, many data centers, and a nontrivial staff. That costs money. Perhaps they are overstepping things with this move, but they need to find a way to make money if they are going to continue their broad based activities. I understand their need for ads even if I find them disagreeable. But that doesn't mean that I will necessarily buy a smart phone with the intrusive capabilities on it.

By a similar token the need for the NSA is an ugly reality. Not every group or society on the planet is willing to live in peace within their own borders. Seventy years ago it was Germany, Italy, and Japan. Not long after that was settled, North Korea decided it would invade South Korea. After WW2 the Soviet Union and its allies used or threatened to use military force on many occasions including in Germany, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Afghanistan, Berlin, Cuba. North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam. The list goes on and on. Saddam's Iraq invaded Kuwait and annexed it until the UN authorized the US and allied forces to remove Iraq's army from Kuwait. Chinese state controlled media just published maps showing targets for Chinese nuclear weapons in the US and also publicized the existence of their extensive submarine force. Russia has started probing US and European air defenses again, and has made mock nuclear attacks. Even ignoring terrorism the NSA has plenty to watch for, and will for the foreseeable future.

There are may things limiting human potential. One of the biggest is human nature.

Re:Dear Slashdot... (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 9 months ago | (#45365711)

Acquiring knowledge has generally been expensive. Libraries cost money for both the building and books. Education costs money, even if it is free to the student.

The internet changed all of that. Acquiring knowledge now costs such a tiny, tiny amount, that we can afford to give it away to every single member of the human race... and we give up very little for the honor of doing so. As a society, we have the privilege of being able to give every single person on this planet free and total access to the collective knowledge of all of the sciences, technology, culture, all of it.

And yet we don't. What does that say about us, as a people?

he internet has been a wonderful resource to make knowledge easier to access, but the infrastructure costs money.

No. Nothing costs money. A cost is something you give up. The cost of a car is all the things you could have gotten instead of the car. People often confuse the value of a thing with the price of a thing, and in a capitalist-driven society, it's hardly a surprise. The infrastructure doesn't cost money, it costs whatever we could have built instead of the infrastructure.

Now, consider all the possible things that we could have built instead of the internet. Instead of giving free knowledge to the world. Can you think of a better way to spend that potentiality? Because I cannot. No sir, your argument does not hold.

By a similar token the need for the NSA is an ugly reality. Not every group or society on the planet is willing to live in peace within their own borders.

The need for an organization that keeps tabs on legitimate threats to our safety and security, yes. The NSA... in its current form, is suboptimal for that task. It has been warped and distorted by political pressure both internal and external into something that is rapidly losing its effectiveness in that capacity. We're building data centers and collecting data, but managing intelligent assets is about more than collection, it's about analytics as well. The NSA has been overburdened with information -- tasked with watching everyone, everywhere.

It's the result of an unprecidented mass-failure of basic cognitive reasoning on the part of our entire governmental superstructure. They overvalue what they don't know, a fallacy known as the ambiguity effect. It's why we spent trillions fighting a war on terror, but we spend a mere fraction of that fighting drunk driving. They also over-value certain types of information -- a person's race, national origin, etc. All this profiling. It's been proven time and time again that the moment you develop a profile for the type of person you're looking for,.. the organization you're fighting will simply select candidates that are outside of that profile. We've created an institutional-sized case of confirmation bias with our security screening procedures. But it gets worse. The NSA is a classic example of information bias... that is, they seek information even when it's irrelevant to the choices presented. Or put another way: They're so focused on gathering more information that they've effectively paralyzed themselves.

And this isn't the first time this has happened, even here in America. All intelligence agencies go through phases where they become complacent and the intelligence feedback cycle goes off the rails, which isn't corrected until a catastrophe. Pearl Harbor. 9/11. Aldrich Ames. "The list goes on and on." After each major shakeup, there's a refocusing and efficiency goes up... for awhile. Until it deteriorates to the point that a new crisis emerges.

There will always be another boogieman in the closet. There will be another 9/11. Another Snowden. Another Pearl Harbor. These things cannot be prevented -- only the illusion that they can be. When we discuss how we wish to combat these yet-unseen and unknown forces, we must be mindful of how we structure our institutions, and what restrictions we place on them. The restrictions are not just to protect us, but the integrity of the intelligence cycle as well.

The NSA has been co-opted into a massive dragnet for political gain by people who want to suppress certain elements of society. This needs to stop. Not because of privacy, or because the terrorists will win, or blah blah fuckity blah... but because it's not sustainable. As any engineer will tell you, if you say "Build a computer", they could hand you a microwave. Say "build a computer with a monitor," and they hand you a calculator. "Build a computer with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse", and you might get a kiosk. Restrictions provide structure -- it enables us to create something that's actually useful to us, like, say, a laptop, instead of a microwave. The NSA needs restrictions in order to be useful to us.

There are may things limiting human potential. One of the biggest is human nature.

A rather nilhist perspective, but hardly a new one. Even the Romans had a phrase to describe this: Ad mores natura recurrit damnatos, fixa et mutari nescia - Human nature ever reverts to its depraved courses, fixed and immutable.

You leave your city, or your country, because you find it's full of crime, immorality, and violence. And that is fine. But ask yourself: What do you expect of the place you are moving to? Because you will find the same wherever you go. It is your expectations that creates the reality you live in. If you expect human nature to be greed, lust, and immorality... then that is all you will ever see or achieve. For this reason... I do not believe human nature limits human potential... I believe they are one in the same. The greatest advances of the 21st century will be in an expanding definition of what it means to be human. And to be honest, I think greed, lust, and immorality, have had their time for us to explore. We should be getting on to other things now.

Re:Dear Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365797)

The internet would have nowhere near as much content (a.k.a. the medium by which knowledge is transferred) as it does today if it weren't for internet advertising and companies like Google.

Good content is not usually free - people spend their time creating it. If they're good at it, they should be able to make a living doing this. Ad networks such as the ones run by Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft pay for that. Most informational sites are funded via advertising, as consumers are not known to be so willing to pay for it outright. Completely crowd-sourced high-value content such as Wikipedia, is really the exception to the rule.

In addition to that, many non-internet non-publisher businesses are successful thanks to advertising networks. As much as ads can be annoying at times, they also enable small businesses to connect directly, in a targeted fashion, with consumers interested in their products. Much revenue at these businesses can be directly attributed to traffic from ads. Overall, this is a good thing.

Re:Dear Slashdot... (1)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about 9 months ago | (#45365831)

The internet changed all of that. Acquiring knowledge now costs such a tiny, tiny amount, that we can afford to give it away to every single member of the human race...

Providing the raw data of knowledge isn't expensive, providing a good Internet connection and a useful computer can be, in many parts of the world they are just not wired for it. Even more, there are a billion people without electricity or running water, they have more pressing issues than access to the Internet.

What does that say about us, as a people?

That we are human beings, and humans have something called "human nature". It won't change just because 3 billion people can read Wikipedia.

The infrastructure doesn't cost money, it costs whatever we could have built instead of the infrastructure.

"Money" is just an easy way to keep track of the value of "stuff", we could go back to barter and skip "money". We could dump money and go back to using gold and silver, but frankly money works better in the modern world than those systems.

Now, if your argument that providing Internet access to a billion people is more useful than another aircraft carrier, fair enough. Except that those billion people would much prefer running water and working toilets first.

There will be another 9/11. Another Snowden. Another Pearl Harbor. These things cannot be prevented

Actually, you don't know that. Frankly, there have been a number of things that have happened in the past 50 years that could have gone the other way, the Cuban Missile Crisis stands out in my mind, but there are others. And we don't know about more recent events.

Frankly, while it is true that we could spend that money on drunk-driving (as you say) and get a "known" result, the fact is that drunk-driving is never going to threaten the existence of the United States of America. Some terrorist with a nuclear weapon might, and it is those types of threats that they are trying to catch.

I do agree that they are throwing out, perhaps too big a dragnet, trying to catch everything, but seeing far too little. More human intel, less computer intel, would be helpful, but frankly I don't really know since I don't work there and I'm not in those meetings.

Let me give you an example...

Obama ran in 2008 on closing the terrorist prison in Guantanamo Bay. It was a major campaign promise. Still hasn't been closed 5 years later. Why?

Candidate Obama looked at the information in 2008 just like you do and said, "this isn't America, this isn't what we stand for, I'll close this".

President Obama in 2009 sits down on Jan 20th and the CIA sits down and shows him the "notebook" with all the bits of info that will never become public. They show him why he can't do what he promised to do. Now he has more information, know he knows what they really do, and thus it is still open.

As much as he "wants" to close it, he now knows why he can't. Frankly, the average person doesn't want to know what the government does in their name, perhaps killing innocent people in order to keep us safe. It isn't a perfect system, but there really are bad people in the world who want to kill us, what would you suggest doing about that?

Re:Dear Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365717)

Russia has started probing US and European air defenses again, and has made mock nuclear attacks.

Again? I don't think they ever stopped their military exercises in international air space. Come again, when they start dispatching subs into Swedish archipelagos [wikipedia.org] like in the 1980s.

Re:Dear Slashdot... (1)

somenickname (1270442) | about 9 months ago | (#45365929)

Well said and makes me think of this quote from Fear and Loathing:

"We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look west, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark - that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back."

Re:Dear Slashdot... (1, Insightful)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 9 months ago | (#45365423)

Or you can not use any Google products. Gmail, google maps, search etc are free so that they can advertise to you and collect data on you.

I keep hearing this over and over again but you know what? Every fucking website that I go on has some tracker from Google on it, not to mention the shit I can't see tracking me. So tell me again how I'm not supposed to have them tracking me: don't use the internet? Go fuck yourself

Re:Dear Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365561)

Well, you need to block the trackers too.

Re:Dear Slashdot... (1)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about 9 months ago | (#45365899)

You can block Google's trackers, same way you block ads.

Re:Dear Slashdot... (1)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about 9 months ago | (#45365763)

That is a fair point...

I can switch to Bing, or Yahoo, or whatever... I can't switch to the "other" American Government when I'm unhappy with the one that I have.

What if we divided America in half, right down the center. Each side created a "new Federal Government" for their half and competed for citizens by offering a government that worked for them. Everyone was a "citizen" of both countries and could freely travel to either side, if one side wanted to attract more people, they would have to offer a better government.

Competition in government! :)

Re:Dear Slashdot... (0)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 9 months ago | (#45365355)

This sounds more like Google helping the NSA in data collection.

Re:Dear Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365367)

Yes, companies want themselves to be the only ones with their data. That way they have some type of advantage over other companies and can make money selling parts of the data to others. If everyone, including NSA, had access to the data, Google wouldn't be able to create exclusive products.

Haven't you seen how much money companies charge the government to fulfill the gov's info requests?

Google doesn't want the NSA spying on you, but it's for their benefit not for yours.

Re:Dear Slashdot... (4, Insightful)

vidnet (580068) | about 9 months ago | (#45365377)

You:

they are gathering the exact same information, and unlike the NSA, don't have any rules restricting their use

The article:

Google gets permission to do this kind of tracking when Android users opt in

Do you really not see a difference between an experimental, opt-in location system and an international, clandestine spy program?

Re:Dear Slashdot... (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 9 months ago | (#45365443)

Do you really not see a difference between an experimental, opt-in location system and an international, clandestine spy program?

They're functionally identical. Every phone you buy today has the same basic EULA: All your personal data is ours, to do with as we please. Try going without a cell phone; We're expected to be wired in. Employers want cell phones. Parents want cell phones. There was an article on slashdot talking about wiring in 5 year olds. This is the future; the interconnected society. You want to be a part of society, you have internet, you have a phone -- you're connected.

And pardon me, but considering how pervasive it is, how deeply it's integrated into our lives, and how little protection there is for all of it... an international, clandestine spy program is far better, at least from a human rights standpoint.

Re:Dear Slashdot... (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 9 months ago | (#45365563)

Do you really not see a difference between an experimental, opt-in location system and an international, clandestine spy program?

Does the average person who has "opted-in" know what they are getting into or is this fine print inserted to make the lawyers happy and subsequently buried by professional marketing turd polishers?

Re:Dear Slashdot... (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about 9 months ago | (#45365667)

Do you really not see a difference between an experimental, opt-in location system and an international, clandestine spy program?

They are all opt-in when they are starting out. Doesn't make it equal to NSA, but "opt-in" is only temporary until it's not

EZ-Pass and their ilk were totally opt-in (and even offered a discount, at least in NH) when they started.

Re:Dear Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365781)

You:

they are gathering the exact same information, and unlike the NSA, don't have any rules restricting their use

The article:

Google gets permission to do this kind of tracking when Android users opt in

Do you really not see a difference between an experimental, opt-in location system and an international, clandestine spy program?

Having a EULA that everyone will not read and ignore is hardly different from an organization who doesn't even bother to create the EULA in the first place.

The NSA is just going green by saving the computing cycles. They know damn well you don't read those EULAs. And even if you did, you want your new Android phone more anyway.

Re:Dear Slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365393)

unlike the NSA, don't have any rules restricting their use

Google's rule is that they only track your location if you tell them they can, and then only within the scope of their privacy policy, which says they won't share any personally-identifiable information with anyone. You're right about one thing: That's very unlike the NSA.

Re:Dear Slashdot... (1)

TC Mok (2871821) | about 9 months ago | (#45365415)

I kinda guessing this is a ploy to corner the surveillance market. Them government contracts are substantial.

weird false equivalence (2)

globaljustin (574257) | about 9 months ago | (#45365537)

I am against both Google and the NSA's data collection policies, but your vitriol is weirdly misplaced

See, from an engineering and legal perspective, the data the NSA and Google gather are not, as you say

they are gathering the exact same information, and unlike the NSA, don't have any rules restricting their use.

Now, there is so much wrong with this, but in the greater sense you and I share alot of common ground. We probably agree overall...

No, what bothers me is how uninformed your opinions are...it's distracting. You need to learn a bit about IT engineering, networking, telcommunications, and things like the Patriot Act.

I'm not saying take a college class...just wikipedia...

read the wikipedia on the Patriot Act [wikipedia.org] ...then read the wikipedia on T-com engineering [wikipedia.org] . Maybe have a look at how a big data center works from a technical perspective. Wired, etc. have good articles available.

Really....read up. You're right in your heart but you come off as a conversational succubus.....your kind of trolling, the kind that is right at heart, really can derail a value-added discussion

Yes, the NSA does use Google's data...there may be overlap in the raw data...but that is not at all near what you are babbling about....READ UP AND EDUCATE YOURSELF

Google United (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365295)

Google United - 1701

Why not just provide a "Tracking App" (3)

guanxi (216397) | about 9 months ago | (#45365331)

Why all this subterfuge? Why not just include an app called "Tracking App" on every Android phone, and include it with every iPhone download?

If Google is right and the tracking is legitimate, what do they have to hide? Consumers will welcome it. If they (and all the other businesses and governments that track you) feel a need to keep it under the radar, then there must be a reason for that.

Re:Why not just provide a "Tracking App" (3, Insightful)

faedle (114018) | about 9 months ago | (#45365383)

Funny, I was aware that's exactly what was going on when I turned on the Android feature that sends location data to Google. They don't exactly hide it, either, which is why I'm wondering why this story is even news. When you "check-in" or somesuch, it's doing right what it says on the tin.

This just in: Water is wet, dogs sometimes bite, and Comcast customer service sucks.

Re:Why not just provide a "Tracking App" (1)

guanxi (216397) | about 9 months ago | (#45365405)

I was aware that's exactly what was going on when I turned on the Android feature that sends location data to Google. They don't exactly hide it, either, which is why I'm wondering why this story is even news. When you "check-in" or somesuch, it's doing right what it says on the tin.

True in some situations but 1) certainly not always true, 2) what is obvious to you may not be obvious to most consumers, and 3) they make it a requirement to use key features, which doesn't provide much of an option to the users.

Re:Why not just provide a "Tracking App" (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | about 9 months ago | (#45366121)

I was aware that's exactly what was going on when I turned on the Android feature that sends location data to Google. They don't exactly hide it, either, which is why I'm wondering why this story is even news. When you "check-in" or somesuch, it's doing right what it says on the tin.

True in some situations but 1) certainly not always true, 2) what is obvious to you may not be obvious to most consumers, and 3) they make it a requirement to use key features, which doesn't provide much of an option to the users.

1) it's consistent across android platforms.
2) if the customer can't read a whole 7 lines of large font before clicking agree or disagree then they are probably to stupid to even feed themselves.
3) no they don't, Android phones are fully functional without any tie to a Google account and without sharing location data.

Re:Why not just provide a "Tracking App" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365553)

Good goyim. Make sure to upgrade to Nexus 5 and vote Democrat in the upcoming election!

Re:Why not just provide a "Tracking App" (3, Insightful)

feral-troll (3419661) | about 9 months ago | (#45366307)

Funny, I was aware that's exactly what was going on when I turned on the Android feature that sends location data to Google. They don't exactly hide it, either, which is why I'm wondering why this story is even news. When you "check-in" or somesuch, it's doing right what it says on the tin.

This just in: Water is wet, dogs sometimes bite, and Comcast customer service sucks.

Funny, when I tell the average consumer that when they use Google Maps it streams information about their movements back to Google who archives that data and sells it, most of them are surprised. When you tell them that Google, Facebook, et al. track their browsing habits even when they are not logged in to those services... same reaction. You may be perfectly aware of the parasitic relationship you are getting into with Google but the average consumer is not, hence the outrage over the NSA surveillance. When the shitstorm over that dies down the media might just turn the spotlight on Google, Facebook et al. and people will be just as creeped out.

Re:Why not just provide a "Tracking App" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45366633)

Pope admits being catholic.
Shit happens in woods according to bears.

Re:Why not just provide a "Tracking App" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365629)

You really have to ask? It would be too explicit (and too easy to disable). You really think when people would be told they're tracked they'd be happy? Some don't care, others don't know and others have been gradually accustomed to this idea by slowly introducing it and increasing the range of the tracking (and not only). "Terms and Conditions May Apply 2013" covers it nicely imho.

Re:Why not just provide a "Tracking App" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365849)

Why all this subterfuge? Why not just include an app called "Tracking App" on every Android phone, and include it with every iPhone download?

If Google is right and the tracking is legitimate, what do they have to hide? Consumers will welcome it. If they (and all the other businesses and governments that track you) feel a need to keep it under the radar, then there must be a reason for that.

You'll notice that you will not find a single tampon box or advertisement that contains images of menstrual blood. Needless to say, there is a damn good reason "subterfuge" exists within that advertising, even when everyone knows exactly what the hell the product is for.

The same level of tact and grace is used here. Consumers would NOT welcome a "tracking app", and it would be one of the FIRST things users would try and uninstall, without even realizing the irony that today, every free app is a tracking app. It's what justifies the price tag. The masses who grew up seeing "FREE" as the de facto standard for many services they abuse today don't realize the reason things are free, but that doesn't mean they're ready to accept blood on the screen either.

Of course, I really shouldn't assume anything about the level of give-a-shit within the masses. I really thought more people would be up in arms about the NSA revelations and STOP using the most common free services they monitor, but apparently the most egregious privacy violation in our history hardly caused a ripple. It is this lack of caring within the consumer space that allows companies to prey like vultures, so don't expect things to get better.

Re:Why not just provide a "Tracking App" (1)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about 9 months ago | (#45365853)

Because humans are funny emotional creatures. At a subconscious level they don't mind being tracked, I suspect that people are "aware" that lots of data is collected about them...

But they don't want to be explicitly told about it...

People like being lied too, they want to hear what they want to hear, not the truth.

Or have you not watched who the people elect year after year? :)

Who thinks like the person who wrote that title? (2, Funny)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about 9 months ago | (#45365351)

Tracks Your Purchases In the Real World

I do all of my shopping in Narnia. Apart from avoiding Google, I save an immense amount of money.

Re:Who thinks like the person who wrote that title (1)

magic maverick (2615475) | about 9 months ago | (#45366055)

I commit all my deicides in Narnia. Killing gods for fun and prophet*. Pity the bastard* keeps coming back...

Footnotes:
* It's been a few years since I read the Narnia books, is there actually a prophet in Narnia? or just god?
* Bastard in the sense of his parents not being married, amirite?

why bother? (2)

bdabautcb (1040566) | about 9 months ago | (#45365361)

I've been on a S3 for a while, if they want to make money from my shopping habits, good luck. I haven't made a significant purchase based on advertising since I was fifteen and thought Chester Cheetoo was the coolest cat around. I understand the slippery slope argument, but if someone thinks they can turn a profit because I bought some work clothes at goodwill and then a sandwich at char-hut, go for it.

Re:why bother? (4, Insightful)

faedle (114018) | about 9 months ago | (#45365389)

That's the glory of what they're doing. They CAN make money off of you knowing that you bought work clothes at Goodwill and a sandwich at Char-hut. If you can't figure out how, you don't completely understand what they're actually doing.

Re:why bother? (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 9 months ago | (#45365545)

That's the glory of what they're doing. They CAN make money off of you knowing that you bought work clothes at Goodwill and a sandwich at Char-hut. If you can't figure out how, you don't completely understand what they're actually doing.

That information is extremely valuable to advertisers.

Right now, advertisers are paying twice as much money for an iOS ad impression over an Android ad impression. Even given the fact iOS is being outsold 4:1 by Android.

It's valuable information for Google because it can mean that Google won't run high paying ads to you, though it could mean those ad-supported apps may get more obnoxious for you because they're forced to run low paying ads while a big spender might only see barely one ad because they just see the big paying one.

And yes, remember Google owns practically the entire online and mobile advertising space.

Re:why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365891)

And yes, remember Google owns practically the entire online and mobile advertising space.

Yes, and don't forget they own the US Government too.

This is obvious, because you can make a statement like the one above, and no one even whispers the word "monopoly".

Imagine if there were many car manufacturers in the world, and yet only one or two companies that maintained control of every single road you could drive on.

Re:why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365633)

Glory? It's basically learning how to manipulate you so that you buy more stuff. It's like stealing money from you in a way.

Re:why bother? (1)

hairyfish (1653411) | about 9 months ago | (#45365773)

That's the glory of what they're doing. They CAN make money off of you knowing that you bought work clothes at Goodwill and a sandwich at Char-hut. If you can't figure out how, you don't completely understand what they're actually doing.

I'm going to blow my mods by commenting: You forgot the part about why I should care? Advertising is like the Jedi mind trick, it generally only works on those who are easily led. Google's business model is to sell Jedi mind tricks, so Jabba is unconcerned by such things...

Re:why bother? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365723)

I think you are seriously mistaken about number of things one, of them being your susceptibility to advertising or rather to the way your brain works - once something catches your eye even in flying by and in unconscious way, it sticks in your brain and this is what marketing predominantly uses. Even if you take conscious efforts not to, you will remember what you have seen and this will affect your decisions. This may influence any of your purchases in a way you never realize. Not that it matters - in majority of chases it does not as your choice is between mostly similar products you need - this may make no difference for you but it does for sellers of the marketed product.

But dream on - at least you have this feeling of superiority and that is great.....

Fuck Google. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365379)

It is no business of theirs which doctors, dentists, hospitals, shops, pubs, clubs, bars, night clubs, strip clubs or brothels I go into.

Fuck Google.

Googlers = morally bankrupt. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365391)

If Google think that somehow it is right for them to track me when I go into a doctors, dentists, hospital, abortion clinic, supermarket, bar, club, casino, strip club, brothel, etc, and use that information to determine my "shopping habits", then I'm not using another Google product ever. Or Google app.

Yes, that means no more youtube on my phone. I'll deal with it. It means I'll think twice about using Google Maps or even a web browser.

This crosses the privacy line and the people at Google that came up with this idea and approved it are all morally bankrupt.

Re:Googlers = morally bankrupt. (1)

mug funky (910186) | about 9 months ago | (#45366501)

... and that's all in 1 night!

A great reason (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 9 months ago | (#45365461)

I think this is a great reason to not have a "smart phone."

I've long had the view that much of the infrastructure for genuine oppression* in the US and much of the West would emerge "for your convenience" until a genuinely oppressive government came along to exploit it. What happens when everything goes through electronic payments and the government decides to cut yours off for some reason?

* If you live in the West, no, this isn't it, but you might be able to get a sense of the potential from here.

Re:A great reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365649)

Or you could just keep an eye on what privilages your apps are using (and revoke them), root your phone and get a clean rom - without gapps.
You say that but i can still see you on your pc. What about all the tracking ads, cookies, spyware and other crapware? Did you realise that almost every installer calls home? That's what I have my firewall for.

Re:A great reason (1)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about 9 months ago | (#45365885)

It isn't about the flavor of Android that you install, my understanding is that you can't disable the E911 tracking built into cell phones these days, it is hardwired in the radio interface layer (RIL) and can't be disabled, even with a fresh format and wipe, it is a legal requirement that any device connected to cell phone services must have it or the carrier can be fined.

Re:A great reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365917)

I think this is a great reason to not have a "smart phone."

I've long had the view that much of the infrastructure for genuine oppression* in the US and much of the West would emerge "for your convenience" until a genuinely oppressive government came along to exploit it. What happens when everything goes through electronic payments and the government decides to cut yours off for some reason?

I'm hardly worried about what my Government can do to me now that they control my health and my fate as I grow older and become "disqualified" for critical medical treatments based on my age. Now that they control that, you really can't do much worse to manipulate the (unhealthy, pill-addicted) masses. Their goal is to ensure you work for half a century or more to save enough money in your "retirement" plan to give it all back to them in the form of medical costs before you die. After all, it would be "unfair" in their eyes to have your relatives inherit any (tax-free) money. Fuck that, as long as you're breathing and have a bank balance, their job of draining you dry is not done.

Re:A great reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45366885)

It must be pretty miserable being so paranoid all the time.

Alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365473)

Leave the phone at home and use cash.
Then you can give Google the finger.

Seriously, the more and more stuff like this that comes out of Google the less I like them. They have to tread a very fine line here. Go too far and you will seriously piss off an awful lot of people.

Thankfully my phone has no Google Apps, in fact, no apps at all and most certainly no GPS in it. Look after those old phones. No GPS == No Big Brother Tracking

Re:Alternatives? (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 9 months ago | (#45365609)

Thankfully my phone has no Google Apps, in fact, no apps at all and most certainly no GPS in it. Look after those old phones. No GPS == No Big Brother Tracking

Nice to hear you using the words cell phone and no big brother tracking in the same sentence as if NSA had not been wholesale collecting cellsite data of every cell user in the US.

Re:Alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45366369)

Yes that is true however that is far less accurate than GPS tracking.
The NSA knows you went to part of the town but in high density housing/buildings, they can't use that alone to say. 'Perp went into 2033 State St at 10pm'
That can say 'Perp was on the 2000 block of State St at 10pm'.

One is actual evidence. The other is circumstantial. Big difference.

Personally, my Cell Phone stays off or in flight mode unless I want to make a call. Not because of the NSA but the fucking Ambulance chasing lawyers who seem to phone me 3-4 times a day because I had an accident a few months ago in Vegas. I have tried changing numbers but somehow the get the new one in a few days. Perhaps they have a back door into the NSA?
These shysters also use numbers that appear as local to me despite them originating from Ga.

What the what! (1)

Provocateur (133110) | about 9 months ago | (#45365557)

Put Snowden on this! STAT!

Customer? (1)

horm (2802801) | about 9 months ago | (#45365643)

The person being tracked in the stores is NOT the customer. The customers are the advertising companies buying this information from Google.

we find it necessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365683)

and we know we shall win, as we are confident.....

The Borg started as marketing research! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#45365769)

Careful where you go with it!

Worries... (0)

feral-troll (3419661) | about 9 months ago | (#45365915)

If a customer is using these apps while he shops or has them still running in the background, Google’s new program pinpoints the origin of the user data and determines if the customer is in a place of business.

And people are worked about the NSA... At least they are only tracking the movements of a relatively small percentage of the citizenry, Google would seem to be tracking every Android user and many iOS users' movements.

usefullness... (1)

mug funky (910186) | about 9 months ago | (#45366491)

if it can track my frigging receipts i'll take it come tax time, NSA or no NSA.

Its called ... (1)

YoungManKlaus (2773165) | about 9 months ago | (#45366523)

a credit card ...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...