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[liberationtech] New microchip for smartphones to provide unprecedented ultra-precise location data

EI8FDB ei8fdb at ei8fdb.org
Tue Apr 17 03:39:37 PDT 2012


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To read a little more technical information (but not much) you can see the product description on Broadcom's website. [1] 

It is chip manufacturers job to sell ideas for their products. That said, I'd be curious to see if device manufacturers are interested - there are still fundamental issues with using power hungry features on mobile, battery powered technologies. 

When there is innovation in battery technology that allows the average smartphone to last for 3-4 days without charging, then we are all screwed.

My opinion it's worth looking at an solution something like the following:

* require transparency of the technology's existence, and explanation in neutral language of its implications; not "you can check-in on Facebook using a LBS app, more "this device can allow for your exact location to be broadcast to the world". 

* for explicit granular control to be given to the unsuspecting user over a device's hardware functions - "I'll allow GPS location to be accurate for Facebook because I only have my friends there and I want them to know when I am near, whereas Twitter only gets city location information as I interact with lots of weirdos, and companies there, whereas websites get no location information as its none of their business."

The recent story about the "Girls around me" application seemed like a complete ridiculous story. The response from Foursquare was not privacy based, it was business based - the developers broke the ToS. [2] Thats the level of contempt towards privacy.
At SXSW this year the Foursquare founder didn't mention privacy in any major was during his talk.

Just to be clear: the application was clearly wrong, but the information it presented would already be available after a few mouse clicks. The location data and personal data is leaking everywhere, as Schneier says, but no-one seems to be taking notice.

When the user has control over the technology, and knows what it can do, they can make the decision whether to use it. Taking the example of the mobile phone - I can choose to turn it off, or leave it turned on.

I am less worried about the BCM4752 chip than the unseen technology in a datacentre somewhere building algorithmic reasoning for my random behaviours.

regards,
Bernard

[1] http://www.broadcom.com/products/GPS/GPS-Silicon-Solutions/BCM4752
[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17582975



On 14 Apr 2012, at 16:08, Yishay Mor wrote:

> Take that logic to its extreme, and we should abolish all digital cameras, and all wireless technology, because they can be misused. 
> There's a clear line between technology that is developed specifically and intentionally for oppressive purposes and technology which is developed for a variety of purposes, but poses potential risks. The first should be fought, the second should be monitored.
> 
> In the case of advanced location technology, we might, for example, demand that mobile OS developers install a settings switch which allows the user to disable this functionality, or see which applications are using it. Any smartphone I've ever owned had a switch for GPS, purely for power saving purpose. 
> 
> Yishay
> ___________________________
>    http://www.yishaymor.org
> 
> 
> 
> 
> On 14 April 2012 13:36, Fran Parker <lilbambi at gmail.com> wrote:
> So true Paul!
> 
> "It's bad civic hygiene to build technologies that could someday be used to facilitate a police state. No matter what the eavesdroppers say, these systems cost too much and put us all at greater risk."
> http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2010/09/wiretapping_the.html
> 
> Sadly we have seen too many things created over time that they claimed were just used for bad things; but could have been used for bad or good. And that's true of this as well.
> 
> It's true of way too much these days ... way too many things could be used for good or bad and are getting used to control, categorize, snoop, wiretap, for security theater, threaten,  and often with way less oversight than should be the case.
> 
> I can't help being thankful that tyrannical government leaders like the obvious, Hitler, didn't have the technology we have today! Look what he did with IBM punchcard systems!
> 
> 
> On 4/14/12 3:25 AM, Paul Bernal (LAW) wrote:
> True, but Schneier's 'bad civil hygiene' quote comes immediately to mind. The risks here are immense. The current Mexican issue is very much a cautionary tale...
> 
> Sent from my iPhone
> 
> On 14 Apr 2012, at 08:21, "Yishay Mor"<Yishay.Mor at open.ac.uk<mailto:Yishay.Mor at open.ac.uk>>  wrote:
> 
> 
> 
> Maybe obvious, but the technology itself is neither good or evil. Its what you do with it. I can think of a variety of wonderful applications for this technology. Starting from locating people in a situation of crisis to location-based games and educational experiences ("to your left, you can see.."). The issue is that people need to (a) be aware of the privacy implications an (b) have control over when their location data is collected and who can see it.
> 
> ____________________
> Dr. Yishay Mor
> Senior Lecturer, Educational Technology
> http://iet.open.ac.uk/people/yishay.mor
> +44 1908 6 59373
> 
> 
> On 12 April 2012 19:07, Katrin Verclas<katrin at mobileactive.org<mailto:katrin at mobileactive.org>>  wrote:
> 
> Welcome to the new world ultra-precise location tracking on your phone...
> 
> http://www.activistpost.com/2012/04/new-microchip-for-smartphones-to.html
> 
> Excerpt:
> 
> 
> 'The Broadcom Corporation, a Fortune 500 company, recently
> unveiled a brand new microchip for smartphones which will provide
> ultra-precise location details, potentially even within a few
> centimeters, far beyond what current smartphones can detect.
> 
> Today cell phones, but smartphones in particular, have become one of
> the most powerful surveillance tools available with Carrier IQ,
> citizen spying applications distributed by both the private sector
> and government agencies, techniques to encourage citizen spying, and
> a total lack of privacy.
> 
> The new chip, called Broadcom 4752 or BCM4752, will relay
> information about the vertical and horizontal position, if the
> individual is indoors or out, all through combining a wide variety
> of information sources.
> 
> 
> 

=====
Bernard / bluboxthief / ei8fdb
IO91XM / www.ei8fdb.org

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