The BBC is reporting this morning something most of us have known for some time, that our mobile phones can be tracked and by looking at the places we go and spend time in it is possible to build a detailed picture of us and what our interests are. I am not neccesarily against this.
One of the examples they give is that by tracking how often we go to the pub or the gym, data sold to insurance companies may be used to alter life of health insurance premiums. That sounds fair enough to me, if I had lied on the forms then strictly speaking, I wouldn’t be covered. If you don’t want to pay more for these products, then the choice is yours. In the same way that I am not against tracking cookies in principle, if companies want to track my online browsing habits in order to sell me things that I may be interested in, then it is down to me to delete my cookies or find software to manage them. Increased advertising revenues help to keep much of the web free, and I’d rather someone send me an advert based on my tastes and raise revenue that way than pay to write this blog, for example. In the same way, if adverts can help to keep my phone bill down then I’m all for that too. It’s up to me whether I buy said products (I don’t, I have never bought anything advertised to me online) and as long as nobody forces me to buy anything then I can’t really complain.
What does worry me, and the reason I try to keep my privacy intact, is if government gets involved. Now, I might visit Infowars.com or WRH, and if someone uses that data to try and sell me survivalist kits or somethingthen that’s fair enough. However, if the state uses that data to put me on a ‘red list’ and pack me off to a labour camp at some point in the future, nabbing me as I go about my business having tracked my mobile phone location, that’s where I have a problem.