Tremendous Hype Against Google Latitude

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Trojan Horse (2)Trojan Horse: GoGap via Flickr

There’s a lot of buzz right now about Google Latitude, the new location-based service where you opt in to the service, select which friends you’re connected to, and then have it automatically update your location. I admit that there’s a creepy factor here, and that most people will not want to let most other people know exactly where they are at any given moment.

Yet in today’s MediaPost, the concerns get SO overblown that it’s making me think Latitude’s not such a bad idea after all:

"As it stands right now, Latitude could be a gift to stalkers, prying employers, jealous partners and obsessive friends," Simon Davies, director of Privacy International, said in a new report.

…Privacy International says the system has a design flaw: Other people can get their hands on users’ phones, and then change the settings. For instance, the group said, a phone left in a repair shop could be secretly enabled. Or someone could give another a Latitude-enabled phone as a gift.

So basically, the concern is that these phones will be turned into Trojan horses. And the concern’s not with the software, it’s with the hardware.

It’s quite possible that Al Qaeda could come into your office, take your phone while you’re in the bathroom, turn it into a bomb, and make it explode when you walk into a shopping mall. But if the real concern about Google Latitude is some doomsday scenario a la Arlington Road, then maybe we can focus on more serious threats.

I do think Mr. Davies of Privacy International has had some REALLY bad cellphone repairmen.


Tremendous Hype Against Google Latitude
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About David Berkowitz
David Berkowitz is Director of Strategic Planning for 360i and oversees the Search Informed Marketing firm's Emerging Media Practice. Every Tuesday, he pens the Search Insider column for MediaPost, with over 100 articles published to date. He often speaks at events covering marketing, media, and technology; his previous engagements include Ad:Tech, Consumer Electronics Show - Digital Hollywood, MediaPost's Search Insider Summit, and many others. He has also blogged extensively with MarketersStudio.com, MarketingVox, nowEurope, AdTechBlog, and others. WebProNews Writer
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