Google Latitude Arouses Privacy, Personal Security Concerns

By February 09, 2009

Google Latitude is a Google Earth app that lets you track your friends and family in real time, something which can equal nothing other than unmitigated F-U-N. It’s yet another GPS/Internet-of-Things tricks that has been getting more even more buzz than the usual Google release. Besides questioning if it’s a little obsessive to track everyone you know on your phone or computer, some are pointing to Latitude’s potentially built-in dangers – and not just from your employers or drinking buddies. A UK-based group is warning that Google Latitude can be used by unknown third parties to stalk individuals.

“Latitude could be a gift to stalkers, prying employers, jealous partners and obsessive friends,” said Simon Davies of watchdog group Privacy International. "The dangers to a user's privacy and security are as limitless as the imagination of those who would abuse this technology.”

A stranger can activate a user’s Latitude profile without their knowledge.

“(T)he danger arises when a second party can gain physical access to a user’s phone and enables Latitude without the owner’s knowledge. At present we are unaware of a way this could be achieved remotely,” according to Privacy International’s website.

This begs the question of why anyone would knowingly want to let everyone in their network know where they are. There’s so much criticism of the wired world turning the state into an Orwellian surveillance society, but if we’re the ones actively and joyously turning ourselves into Big Brother, isn’t that even more frightening?

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