By Bob Sullivan
Apple took its turn in the privacy hot seat this week, but it was a short stay. Before the company could press-release its way out of trouble over its location-tracking iPhones, Sony grabbed that spotlight with a far more serious data transgression.
When Sony’s PlayStation disaster distracted us from Apple’s geolocation fiasco, we lost much more than 77 million accounts’ worth of data. We lost a tremendous learning opportunity, a chance to focus on the greatest privacy question of our time, or perhaps any time:
Should we let corporations and governments know where we are all the time?
When researchers discovered last week that there was enough information in a file on most iPhones to determine the owner’s whereabouts dating back several months, disturbing location maps began appearing all over the Internet. But really, they were just visual representations of something most of us already knew deep inside: Cell phone companies know where we are all the time. We also know grocery stores track what we eat and that governments know when we drive through toll booths.
The problem is this: We’ve never talked about whether this is a good or a bad idea. We are all being tracked now, and our whereabouts logged. But what should we do about it?
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