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Would you trade your privacy for a smartphone?

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jason

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Post Sun Nov 30, 2008 6:36 pm

Would you trade your privacy for a smartphone?

100 students at MIT are trading privacy for free smartphones. Their calls, text messages, music habits, location, and who knows what else are being tracked by researchers at all times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/30/busin ... .html?_r=1

I wouldn't go for this deal, would you?
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geekyone

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Post Sun Nov 30, 2008 11:41 pm

Re: Would you trade your privacy for a smartphone?

I certainly wouldn't.  Knowing MIT students they may have other plans with the smart phones.  MIT students are legendary pranksters.
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jason

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Post Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:02 am

Re: Would you trade your privacy for a smartphone?

Hrmmm true. That might be a *very* good opportunity to mess with the researchers. "They're all in one men's room stall! All 100 of them!"
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RoleReversal

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Post Mon Dec 01, 2008 3:55 am

Re: Would you trade your privacy for a smartphone?

Whilst I won't go for this deal, I've got two questions in mind.
  • How many normal people are going to go for it without thinking/caring?
  • Are the researchers really gathering any additional information on top of what is stored by the network operator anyway?

Just my thoughts early on a cold, dark and snowy Monday morning.
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jimbob

Post Mon Dec 01, 2008 5:27 am

Re: Would you trade your privacy for a smartphone?

Ah, the old worm and hook routine. To be honest if I was a student I'd probably go for this since it's a pretty sweet toy to have if you're on a low budget. Right now I'd probably decline.

That said, how are they tracking the holder's usage and location? If they are not using anything over and above what's install on a regular smartphone who's to say we're not already being monitored in this fashion? The phorm debacle demonstrates we should not rely on the law or agreements with service providers that this kind of behaviour will not take place.

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jason

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Post Mon Dec 01, 2008 12:33 pm

Re: Would you trade your privacy for a smartphone?

From the sound of it, they're just tracking things from the server end. I'd be curious to know how many people in the general public would jump at this if their wireless provider offered it. Quite a few, I'd imagine.

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