No Privacy Please!

https://thetrackr.com/

We are always faced with difficult decisions. It could be the choice between; Club Orange or Rock Shandy, staying in bed or getting up in the rain at 6:30 to make that early lecture or having to choose between allowing strangers to know the ins-and-outs of your life at home or spending an entire 2 minutes looking for those “blasted keys!”

In the 21st technology-driven century there exists a constant battle between choosing convenience and safety or privacy. Many do not know of this battle of their privacy being in danger. This leads to millions worldwide allowing for their privacy rights to be breached on a daily basis.

Convenience is quite dangerous nowadays. It is more convenient for me to take the shorter route when I’m walking from the bus stop by myself in the dark as I will be in the door in 15 minutes. If I take the longer route it will take me about 23 minutes to make it home. However, to take the shorter route I must walk through an unlit atrackr-applley by an estate with a perilous reputation before passing the common drinking place for aggressive underage teens. The longer route involves following the path lined with street lights and housing estates full of families home after a long day. Now statistically speaking, the likelihood of someone being attacked or approached by mischievous characters during the shorter route home is much higher than if they had taken the longer route home. This does not mean that I WILL be attacked or harassed, it’s just more likely. Therefore the shorter route is more dangerous, but realistically you’re going to take it anyway unless there was a recently reported incident the occurred on that route.

Likewise, having an app that can not only track your every move in your own home but also the movement of your most valuable possessions is very dan
gerous. For an app to be able to track down where something is in your home means that it must have a connection to a GPS system and the internet. Because it is connected to the internet, data is constantly being transferred back and forward between the device with the app and the GPS router and all this data is stored in the company’s Data Controller Headquarters. [1] In their privacy policy they state that “personal data may be collected automatically” and stored by the Data Controller. Although according to statistics [2] show that only 16% of Internet users claim to always read privacy policies and that as many as 37% admit to not understanding what a privacy policy even is. This truly shows how (sometimes wrongfully) trusting people are in the internet and its ability to keep them safe.

The above image is an example layout of a home that Trackr show on their website to show how easy it is to locate lost items in your home with their app.

Now I am not trying to personally attack TrackR or any of the other cutting edge applications and websites made available to us, but their is just too much trust placed into their hands by millions globally. Although they may have state-of-the-art security systems in place to protect their clients, no one and their information can truly be safe on the web.

Hackers. If they target your information via the TrackR app, they will know the layout of your home and it’s location, where everything of importance to you is usually kept, and what item you most commonly lose. These apps are potentially allowing complete strangers access to your most intimate moves within your own home. They can know where you most likely lose your wallet as you run to catch the bus, something not even close friends would know about you unless they lived with you. The ‘convenience’ here lies with having the ability to find the unfindable without the effort of looking for it. The danger is letting someone in and finding out everything there is to know about what you do within the confinements of your own home. In these instances your jeopardizing  your safety. If online criminals and hackers can find and sell thousands upon thousands of credit card details on The Dark Web, what’s to stop them from selling on information about your home and personal possessions? It would be a burglars dream.

It is not safe and extremely risky for you to give this much intimate information to any company, but like the shorter route home, it is simply convenient.

References:

[1] “Privacy Policy of www.thetrackr.com” Accessed November 20, 2015. https://thetrackr.com/privacy

[2] “1-In-5 Internet Users Always Read Privacy Policies, But That Doesn’t Mean They Understand What They’re Reading” Accessed November 20, 2015. http://consumerist.com/2012/11/28/1-in-5-internet-users-always-read-privacy-policies-but-that-doesnt-mean-they-understand-what-theyre-reading/

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3 Responses to No Privacy Please!

  1. Hey Laoise,
    I really enjoyed your blog post and I completely agree with you. While the app is a revolutionary piece of tech it does seem like it could be potentially dangerous. However, with all the tracking software in mobile phones nowadays could that not possibly be utilized so that people could check when you’re out of the house? You don’t need to know where things are in the house if you know the person is out of the house and you can go look yourself. What do you think?

    • olivebyrne says:

      Hey Andrew,
      Thanks for the comment! I agree that a lot of the technology nowadays can be utilized in all sorts of illegal manners, especially those that use WiFi and GPS systems.
      However as you said yourself, the apps that people currently use today can only tell whether or not you are inside your house. This is because a lot of tracking devices are not very specific with locations. But as I said in the blog post, TrackR can tell you exactly where your most valuable possessions are in your home as well as your own whereabouts. This would make your home a primary target (if it ever got to that stage) to burglars as they would know exactly where everything is and this would decrease the time needed to grab everything and go which is considerably less risky for them. If you have ever seen a crime movie, you will know that it takes a lot of time to ‘scope out’ a house or building that people want to break into. But now if these criminals are tech-advanced an are able to hack into such databases by these companies you no become an ‘easy target’.
      Obviously burglary isn’t the only crime that you may fall victim to if your personal information was compromised but it is a good example.
      So even though all technology can be very dangerous in regards to having personal information exposed, apps such as these that make life nearly too easy are definitely endangering our safety at the time!

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