Does Palm Violate User Privacy?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 13, 2009

Does Palm Pre infringe user privacy more than other phones do? According to this software developer, the smartphone collects data on user location and sends it to Palm. The device also notifies Palm if an application crashes.

Many Palm Pre users are now crying foul, convinced that Palm infringes on their privacy. But the fact of the matter is, the device maker is simply taking a page out of Apple’s book.

Remember, Apple’s iPhone has capabilities such as kill switch, which allows the device maker to remotely disable any application on the device. According to this developer blog, Apple may also collect location data. And Apple knows which applications and music you’ve downloaded off of iTunes.

Handset makers and carriers argue that they need this data to improve their products and services. They’ve got a point: If they know a particular app crashes all the time, they can take steps to fix it. Whether handset makers need to know your location is to be debated. But the bottom line is, Palm is likely not doing anything that its smartphone rivals don’t. “Palm takes privacy very seriously,” says Palm spokeswoman Leslie Letts. “We do offer users ways to turn on or off [data] collection services [in certain applications].” She explains that Palm gathers location information “to give relevant local results for Google Maps.”

Reader Comments

Matt

August 14, 2009 9:00 AM

Well it is only infringing on the users privacy if the user does not know about it.

curtis

August 17, 2009 4:16 PM

telling people you are infringing on their privacy doesn't really do anything considering people are forced to sign contracts that completely give away all their rights everytime they sign a contract now a days.. and the thing is.. governments BY THE PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE shouldn't be allowing contracts to be signed that have a user sign away all their rights because that should be considered a corrupt contract and should be null and void without question, but in this messed up world where corps take advantage of every loop hole and keep making contracts bigger and bigger and more cryptic, i'm sure we've all signed away our souls long ago.. probably since our parents signed the birth certificate under the maritime property laws.. lol

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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