16 July 2012

That’s not my phone. That’s my tracker.

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Peter Maass and Megha Rajagopalan argue in the New York Times Sunday Review that the device in your purse or jeans that you think is a cellphone, is in fact a tracking device that happens to make calls.

“We have all heard about the wonders of frictionless sharing, whereby social networks automatically let our friends know what we are reading or listening to, but what we hear less about is frictionless surveillance. Though we invite some tracking — think of our mapping requests as we try to find a restaurant in a strange part of town — much of it is done without our awareness.” […]

“People could call them trackers. It’s a neutral term, because it covers positive activities — monitoring appointments, bank balances, friends — and problematic ones, like the government and advertisers watching us.

We can love or hate these devices — or love and hate them — but it would make sense to call them what they are so we can fully understand what they do.”

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