In my opinion, geolocation or location-based data (call it what you will) is the most frustrating aspect of mobile device usage. Although I was unable to obtain prompt expert insights to aid story credibility, surely I can't be the only one that thinks in this manner?
There are some instances where I would find location broadcasting useful. Consider, for example, when Timmy is trapped at the bottom of a well and Lassie fails to make an appearance. In this case, I would certainly recommend that Timmy enable location tracking and GPS on his smartphone or tablet. In all other circumstances, I'd prefer to disable location tracking.
The great American philosopher Al Bundy's response when his wife asked, "What are you thinking?" was: "If I wanted you to know, I'd be talking." A similar response could be applied to the question, "Where are you?" If I wanted [insert generic service provider or website here] to know, I'd have enabled the appropriate services or opted-in to this capability in some way.
Why am I so unwilling to embrace the joys of digital marketing, social media and the monetization of services in general? Am I so bitter and twisted that I see conspiracies everywhere I turn? Perhaps, but just because you're paranoid doesn't mean you're not under surveillance. For further details, please contact the NSA, Edward Snowden and law enforcement.
The Next Level of Pokemon Go?
The so-called patriots claim there is nothing to worry about if you've got nothing to hide. Well, we all have something to hide... but in my case it's not about criminal activity or anything underhanded. I leave that to the politicians.
If, and it's a colossal if, I enable all tracking features on a mobile device, what is the end result? GPS sucks power at an accelerated rate, up to 10 times faster, and, if enabled constantly, this function would require a device to recharge in a few hours.
Consider Pokemon GO, the latest craze where users can go and capture Pokemon in their own neighborhoods. As GPS is used, players must bring additional batteries or portable chargers to ensure continued gameplay. As AR (augmented reality) goes, it's a good money-spinning idea, but it doesn't go far enough.
Players should be the Pokemon masters, with cage fights or street battles allowing the victors to acquire the loser's Pokemon. Now that's entertainment and I would certainly advocate the use of location-based data to determine the proximity of another player with useful Pokemon.
As a regular business traveler and VPN user (in countries where censorship is in place), location-based data failings are more apparent. Services such as PayPal, Google and others are blocked or require reactivation based on your 'suspicious' location. Does this just happen to me? Microsoft just sends a notification that your account or service has been accessed from a new device or location. If you didn't access it, you should take action. If you did, your service remains uninterrupted.
Why can't others follow this example? In addition, you would think that when a user jumps between country locations on a regular basis, with mere minutes in between (faster than any available transport option), that the logical conclusion of VPN usage would result. Apparently not.
Copyright law is no excuse for the way that iTunes and other sites use geolocation data. If you travel outside of your home country, you're going to have a hard time making purchases, as these companies seem to expect users to have credit cards or bank accounts in every country to which they travel. Did you buy iTunes credits at the Apple store in another country? The same rule applies: These credits can't be used as your device is patriotic in the extreme.
My favorite aspect of location-based data has to be digital marketing. If you travel to Japan, you can witness targeted marketing at its best, with all ads in Japanese. Long may it continue! When marketers wake up and realize that the user's browser or system language is the key to success and that this information can be easily determined even by the most basic visitor tracking software, then I will believe in the wonders of business intelligence programs and analytics in this field.
In conclusion, having outlined some of my issues with location-based data and its ineffectiveness, I can confidently state that my location and browsing activity is hard to determine. I take joy in the fact that VPN usage skews tracking analysis and that adblockers prevent targeted marketing. And I don't believe that geolocation solves security issues, as two-factor authentication and a 24-character generated password is a better solution.
Those who wish to broadcast their location on social platforms are welcome to do so. As for me, my social interaction takes place in the real world, with friends and family. How pathetic is that?