Who’s Watching Me?

I like the iPhone TV commercials – all those apps I haven’t even heard of.  The App store very conveniently even has a section devoted to those apps seen on the TV commercial – smart!  I was browsing about the other day and noticed the genius tab.

Seemed like an interesting take – suggest apps I might like based on what I have already. However, as I started to read the privacy notice I became more concerned. Maybe I am just getting a bit paranoid, but the idea of having some entity tracking not just what apps I have, but how often I use them just seems a bit creepy.

Some people I know won’t use online banking cause they are scared. I figure it is way safer then leaving my checks in a mailbox though. Netflix just awarded a million dollar prize for a predictive movie picker to help make better movie suggestions for users. Fine, based on what movies I have watched and liked, suggest more.

Amazon sends me emails about products I might be interested in based on what I have bought or is in my wish list or what I have looked at. This is slightly creepy, but I found Ooma from this and that has saved me money!

I know what these companies want to use this for – make better suggestions to me so that I will buy more. That’s business, but there is a limit to how much information I really want to give up.

Tracking what movies I rent, what I buy at the grocery store on my points card or using my bill payments to set my credit score is one thing. Tracking my browser history or my app usage just seems a bit more invasive.

Last week I went to get my biometrics taken for my citizenship application. I asked why I needed to give the fingerprints again when I had done the same thing for my permanent resident card. Agent said because we only keep fingerprints on record for 15 months. Huh? Then why take them? Just take my DNA and be done with it! Probably Google has a more information on me now that the USCIS!

So, long story short, I declined the genius app tab function. Will this be short sighted of me? Will I miss some app that would have made me 30% more productive? Maybe, but I feel better anyway!

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One response to “Who’s Watching Me?

  1. Fiona,

    I think your ideas are VERY well taken and have a TON of merit.

    And, it IS interesting how this is, I feel, all a matter of “levels of comfort”. That is, a few SHORT years ago, I’ll bet ALL of us were a bit ‘skeptical’ of on-line ANYTHING, then, as time passed and we became more comfortable, we started using it until now, we can’t imagine visiting ‘Brick and Mortar’ for some of our items any more. I think the idea of our phones/browsers learning more about us is more of the same. Sure there will some who are just NOT going to do it; but I’ll BET as time goes on, we will be AMAZED at the amount of info we are allowing to be ‘scanned’ off of us. Just look at FaceBook/Twitter etc. We can learn MORE intimate details from people to the point that our passwords can be ‘hacked’ based on info that WE put ‘out there’ (see Sarah Palen’s lesson).

    So, I think it is just a matter of time and convience that will ‘drive’ us to, more and more, ‘blurring’ of the “personal info is personal” line.

    Just my 1.5 cents worth.

    By the way, I am NOT giving out my SSN!!!!! 😀

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