As the new slogan goes, "If you don't have an iPhone, you don't have an iPhone."
Now, it seems, that might mean you also don't have the Orwellian "Big Brother" checking out your every move.
Last month, some computer researchers revealed that the Apple iPhone stores location-based data indefinitely, tracking wherever users go.
Users were generally alright with their iPhones knowing their current location, because it enhanced the usability of certain apps and made them feel smarter and more connected. But you throw in a hidden (until now) history of movement and no apparent way for that to add value for the user, and it's not going over so well.
And what can you do now that your trusty iPhone is throwing your location history back to the technology overseers at Apple? Nothing, really. A quip circulating the Internet recently fictionally quotes Apple CEO Steve Jobs as saying, "If you don't want your phone to track you, just take out the battery. Oh wait." The iPhone battery isn't removable. So the joke is on us, I suppose.
The real surprise is - we didn't see this coming. At each step of the rapidly elevating technological ladder, we're not only absorbing more information, we're inputting more information. Where we are, where we've been, what movies we like, what kind of relationship we're in, even what words we use more than others. Between our mobile phones, social networks of choice, and how comprehensively every facet of our lives is stored on our computers, we're becoming more and more a society of open books.
I would contend that we've been O.K. with that, or at least complacent. And we're naive enough to believe that signing a services contract with a technology company utilizing thousands of lines of fine print won't forfeit our rights. Though we live in a society and a country where it’s hard to take a left turn without getting litigated back into the 19th century, we still don’t get the importance of the things we sign. For some reason, we can’t get it through our heads that we, as the consumers and users of technology, are as culpable for how our information gets used.
It’s like we’re slowly coming to our senses in the middle of round 9, facing Mike Tyson (in his prime) and we missed our chance to instead fight Liza Manelli because we skipped the fine print. We’re groggy, we’re out-muscled, and there are a lot of things being done to us that we don’t like. We’re not sure what to do about it, and worst of all, our information being used behind our backs; shipped off (or not?) to the evil advertising companies so that they can bug us more effectively (in their opinion at least).
It raises the hair on our collective necks when someone knows something about us that we don't know they know. And it's even more chilling when our betrayer is our best friend, our constant companion, our cell phone. But it's time to wake up and realize that in this new digital age, anything that connects us to the internet is pulling and sharing info we probably don't want to share. As our reliance on our technology grows deeper and deeper, maybe we should share some of the sentiments of our parents and grandparents, and bring a little distrust of technology into our lives.