Apple Inc.’s iPhones and Google Inc.’s Android smartphones regularly transmit their locations back to Apple and Google, respectively, according to data and documents analyzed by The Wall Street Journal—intensifying concerns over privacy and the widening trade in personal data.
I don’t know why Symbian, Windows Phone, and webOS aren’t mentioned. They must do it too.
And why hasn’t anyone asked the question I’m asking here?
The Kindle 3G, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Sony Daily Edition use cellphone carriers for some of their data transmission. Do those devices track location too? You don’t need GPS to do that, just a cellphone tower “address.”
What about eBook devices that use just WiFi? Kindle WiFi, Kobo Wireless Reader, Nook WiFi, and NookColor? Do they transmit any such identifiers? Could they tell which Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, Borders, public library, or free WiFi access spot you’ve been at?
And what about the eBook reading software that runs on 3G or even just WiFi tablets? There’s software for Kindle, Sony, Kobo, and Nook. Do those do any location tracking? What about when they’re on an iOS, Android, Symbian, webOS, Blackberry, or Windows Phone cellphone?
In fact, what data do they collect other than transactional information?
We know that Amazon cloudsync for Kindle will grab bookmarks, notes, and last page read. That’s a feature. But is any location data also grabbed? What about with Apple’s iBooks? Kobo Books? Nook?
I don’t know the answer to any of these questions. Nor do I want to seem paranoid. But if you’re going to talk about some devices and some data, you better start thinking about all devices and all possible data.