Friday, May 16, 2014

Should I be amused when apps help me with my location?

Today, Google Wallet let me know that one of my rewards cards' stores was close.  I'm not sure whether to be concerned or thrilled.  It's more than the other, Key Ring, ever let me know.

Last week, the Speedway app let me know repeatedly that one of their filling station/convenience stores was near.

It's definitely useful, but should I be concerned?

I've said in the past that the best privacy on the internet is to delete yourself and stay off the internet.  That remains true.  It is the safest way to privacy.  It's also not a good answer when you have a phone or other mobile device.  You will connect to the internet at some point.

Apple has been working with a company to provide in-store proximity alerts.  i.e., when you're in the vicinity of a product they think you'll like, they send you a message of some sort.

Now, if this happens as part of an explicit choice I make--fine.  If it happens without my control, and I have no choice, that doesn't work for me.

To a certain extent, I get check-in alerts when I use the Yelp app.  Stores with which they have an advertising agreement will put up a coupon of sorts that you can use or discard.  In general, as I use the Yelp app, I am agreeing to such advertising.  Obviously, they're a business trying to make money.  They can't host all the information for free.  I've only made use of a few of the deals, such as service discounts with my car dealer.

While I appreciate the notice about things around me, I'm a bit concerned that it will become so rampant that I will start to remove apps in order to control the flow of information, especially if they give me no effective option to shut off alerts.  (I've had plenty of apps where you tell it to stop, and it ignores the setting.)

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