Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Big Brother, Freedom and Life

We all love our cell phone. If we are lucky enough to have a so called "smartphone" then chances are we tweet, we Facebook, we tumble, we browse, we email, we photograph, we video, heck - we may even make the occasional call on it. And let's be honest - we may have given the whole privacy issue about whether the information that passes through our phones might be used by someone else for whatever reason - but the chances are that we have not understood some of the issues, or thought through them, or maybe we just don't really know what is kept by phone companies and what might be done with that information.

Enter Malte Spitz. A Berlinner. And a Green Party MP in Germany. He actually went to court to find out what his phone company had on him. And with the help of some other people what he has to say in this recent TEDGlobal talk might raise a few eyebrows. It certainly provides a perspective which I found really interesting.

So - watch this 9 minute TED talk and wait till you see the graphic representation of the data that is presented towards the end. If you are an "ethics" or "social implications" enthusiast - then it will provide plenty of discussion points.

Now - you might like to know what your local phone provider has to say on this. I'm a Vodafone customer ... this is from their website this morning  ..

1. What information does Vodafone collect?

We collect information relating to you that you have provided to us (for example, on an application or registration form or through the way you use our products and services) or that we may have obtained from another source (such as our suppliers or from marketing organisations and credit agencies).
This information may include, your name, address, telephone numbers, information on how you use our products and services (such as the type, date, time, location and duration of calls or messages, the numbers you call and how much you spend, and information on your browsing activity when visiting one of our group companies' websites), the location of your mobile phone from time to time, lifestyle information and any other information collected in relation to your use of our products and services.

There will of course be governmental rules around privacy of information ... here are a couple of starting points if you are interested in following through on some of this.

Telecommunications Information Privacy Code 2003
Privacy Act 1993

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