Did you see all the headlines this week about how iPhones record and store location data? Oh my, how it sent Congress – politicians – into an uproar about personal security violations! The media blasted out calls for Steve Jobs to explain himself, damn it. It hit a fever pitch, this supposed personal security rights violation, and Apple released an iOS update pronto. (I assume that 633 megabite download and install fixed the problem.)
At the same time, tucked in with all the uh-oh’s about smartphones tracking our every move was the news that enough people are going cell-phone-only nowadays and giving up landlines to make the news. Turns out, the people opting for only cell phones are those that are living in poverty. It seems that the pay-as-you-go or government cell phones with a scant 250 minutes are the popular choices among folks making only enough to register on the 2009 poverty scale: $11,000 for a single person, $22,000 for a family of four.
Put the two stories together and what do you get? A good dose of reality, if you’re so inclined.
As so happens, I live in Arkansas, where, along with Mississippi, 35 percent of people go the cell-phone-only route, the highest in the country by a landslide. Arkansas is second only to Mississippi in the percentage of people living in poverty at 18.8 percent, with the national average clocking in at 14.3. Without revealing Too Much Information, let’s just say that I’m a good representative of the cell-phone-only folks that fall into that 35 percent.
So, my trusty iPhone, the only phone I have, is tracking my every move. The iPhone puts that information into a file that it stores, safe and sound. It records that I go to work and come home every day, and once in awhile, I take a trip out to see my horse and stop at the grocery store on my way home. Yesterday, I broke out of my usual routine, God forbid, and took a trip to a salon to get my hair cut and headed over to the fair grounds to watch some roping and barrel racing afterward. There. I shared my information so my iPhone doesn’t have to.
Just what is it about my cell phone tracking my every move that matters? Not a thing. Digging a little deeper, all the other information on my phone besides where I’ve been isn’t even much of interest. Go ahead and hack into my bank account. While you’re there, would you be so kind as to deposit a few hundred bucks? Would you pay my cell phone and car insurance bills while you’re at it? You see, if you did that for me, I might be able to afford to buy some new clothes, put some gas in my car or hey, maybe even a buy a steak or two. That would be nice.
This issue just doesn’t matter to me. I have no riches to worry about losing and do nothing.
So once again, our elected representatives and officials are crying wolf where no wolves exist. It’s just one more glaring instance of proof that what they are concerned with is themselves, not me. In fact, it would be a good idea if they did hack into my personal life via my iPhone, just to get a glimpse of how the majority of us live as a result of their flapping lips. It would be an even better idea to pull that damning file off their iPhones and have a glimpse of what they are really up to, wouldn’t you say?
My iPhone tracks my every move. So what?