Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Most App Users Worry About the Privacy of Their Location Data

If you were to pick an audience of people that would be the most comfortable with sharing their location, it might be smartphone app users. But in a survey of mobile subscribers who have downloaded an application within the previous 30 days, more than half of them told Nielsen they are are concerned about their privacy when using location-based services and check-in apps.

Specifically, 59 percent of women and 52 percent of men said they are concerned about privacy issues with such apps. Concern about privacy is also more common among older people, but even among the most carefree age group–25 to 34 years–those surveyed said they worried about the privacy of check-in apps.

Only eight percent of women and 12 percent of men described themselves as “not concerned” about such privacy issues (the third option was “indifferent”).

To declare you are not concerned about privacy lapses these days might be akin to saying you’re not worried about natural disasters; it probably has more to do with your personality than you being at risk. Creating such data is an invitation for it to be used in unintended (and not always bad) ways.

Sometimes, it turns out, we create a digital trail of our locations without even realizing it.

But an increasing number of people share their locations on purpose. Foursquare (whose CEO NetworkEffect interviewed this week) had a record three million check-ins on a single day on Saturday.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work