Technology used to be so simple. Cell phones were only for telephone calls. CD players operated the CD you chose. And the radio worked only if you had signal. Now, smart phones perform all three operations at once for a small price to pay.
Pandora, an online radio provider,was recently subpoenaed to a federal court for selling consumer information gathered from their mobile smartphone application without proper disclosure. Age, gender, zip code, and music preferences were collected by Pandora for specific target advertising. In this situation the saying, “there is no free lunch” holds a lot of truth. If an iPhone or Android application is free, be skeptical.
Because Apple certified the use of the Pandora application on the iPhone, they are also under the scrutiny of the Security Exchange Commission. Is this all one big conspiracy where large corporations hold inordinate amounts of data about the public users? Will smartphone fanatics be able to protect their privacy over the internet and cell phone applications?
The Federal Trade Commission currently searches for a solution. They now believe a “Do Not Track Mechanism” should be installed so that the common internet user can browse the internet, protected from intrusion of privacy. Their ultimate goal is to block online companies from collecting information, but the world wide web presents a tough obstacle.
Internet Protocol (IP) addresses change every few days. Unfortunately, more complex technology calls for more complex solutions. The FTC explained that protecting one IP address could not prevent companies from tracking user’s information.
Can a web or cell phone user shield the eyes’ of the omnipresent bigger brother? Maybe. Remain skeptical of any free application or revert back to the old days and just use your cell phone for incoming and outgoing calls.