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.”