Hot on the heels of last week's announcement of Apple's iPhone and iPad 3G recording user locations, Slashdot discussed several mobile devices tracking and privacy stories. Here's their summaries and follow the links to read their associated discussions.
The first one was a story named iPhone and Location: Don't Panic, followed by a more detailed story named Police Using Apple iOS Tracking Data For Forensics:
"Several readers have sent in follow-up articles to Wednesday's news that iPhone location data was being tracked and stored. First, it seems Android shares a similar problem, though the file containing the location data is "only accessible on devices that have been rooted and opened up to installation of unsigned apps." Developer Magnus Eriksson has created an app to flush this data. Next: the iPhone tracking file is not new, just in a different place than it used to be. Reader overThruster then points out a CNet story indicating that law enforcement has been aware of this file for some time, and has used it in a forensics context. This story is a growing concern for Apple, particularly now that Senator Al Franken (PDF) and Rep. Ed Markey (PDF) have both written letters to Steve Jobs demanding details about the location tracking. Finally, PCMag explains how to view the location data present on your iPhone, should you so desire."
Two other stories on location privacy were discussed, the first one How People Broadcast Their Locations Without Meaning To:
""Smartphones include geotagging features that many people aren't aware of, MIT's Technology Review reports. And it's not just in the obvious places: 'For example, by looking at the location metadata stored with pictures posted through one man's anonymous Twitter account, the researchers were able to pinpoint his likely home address. From there, by cross-referencing this location with city records, they found his name. Using that information, the researchers went on to find his place of work, his wife's name, and information about his children.'""
And a last one named Turning GPS Tracking Devices Against Their Owners:
""Those low-cost embedded tracking devices in your smartphone or those personal GPS devices that track the whereabouts of your children, your car, your pet, or a shipment can easily be intercepted by hackers, who can then pinpoint their whereabouts, impersonate them, and spoof their physical location. A researcher demonstrated at SOURCE Boston how he was able to hack Zoombak's popular personal tracking devices.""
Here's the Friday geonews in batch mode.
From the Google front:
From the Microsoft front:
In the miscellaneous category:
In the maps category:
Found on slashdot, here is their summary :
Schneier's blog tips an article about research into geolocation that can track down a computer's location from its IP address to within 690 meters on average without voluntary disclosure from the target. Quoting:
"The first stage measures the time it takes to send a data packet to the target and converts it into a distance – a common geolocation technique that narrows the target's possible location to a radius of around 200 kilometers. Wang and colleagues then send data packets to the known Google Maps landmark servers in this large area to find which routers they pass through. When a landmark machine and the target computer have shared a router, the researchers can compare how long a packet takes to reach each machine from the router; converted into an estimate of distance, this time difference narrows the search down further. 'We shrink the size of the area where the target potentially is,' explains Wang. Finally, they repeat the landmark search at this more fine-grained level: comparing delay times once more, they establish which landmark server is closest to the target."
Here's the recent geonews that haven't made it into full stories in batch mode.
Related to the Japan 2011 earthquake and tsunami:
From the open source / open data front:
From the ESRI front:
In the miscellaneous category:
In the maps category:
Slashdot discusses the following topic: Are We Too Reliant On GPS?
Their summary: "A new report from the Royal Academy of Engineering in London suggests developed nations have become too reliant on GPS systems. The report from the Academy focuses on global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) and their vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities include deliberate or accidental interference, both man-made (such as jamming) and natural (such as solar flares). While most people equate GPS systems with the tiny screens which get drivers from point A to point B, the report says society's reliance on the technology goes well beyond that. The Academy says the range of applications using the technology is so vast that without adequate independent backup, signal failure or interference could potentially affect safety systems and other critical parts of the economy."
We have a few previous stories on LORAN-C and eLORAN that could have served as a backup to GNSS in some use case and some areas.
The geospatial career leader opened for business in 1989 and has operated on the internet since October 12th 1995. When www.geosearch.com was registered on-line, it became the world’s first geospatial job board. To keep pace with rapid change online, the website has revamped several times. The sustaining mission for the design team is to strive for a site with solid technology, relevant content, and simplicity. The only objective is to match employers with job seekers.
The new site is aesthetic, quick, and useful. Employers now benefit from an easy method to register, manage, and administrate corporate accounts. This includes multiple logons per employer account if required with role based authority for 'administrator' or 'associate' level. Employers can maintain a complete history of postings, create new postings, edit existing postings, plus 'template' postings. To identify qualified candidates, employers can use unlimited employer defined screening questions per posting, applicant 'scoring' based on responses. Tools are built in to maintain a complete history of online applications, respond by email to applicants - individually, or to multiple applicants at one time, and forward applications by email.
For geospatial job seekers, pages load quickly and searches are fast.
Registration is free and registered job seekers have a custom home page where they can opt in/out of emails from the GeoSearch job board. The back office technology offers robust Profile/Resume management that supports one or multiple profiles/resumes per job seeker account. To meet the needs of this technologically savvy demographic, the architecture supports resumes as text (keyed or pasted) or uploaded attachments (.pdf, .doc, .docx, .rtf, .txt). The Customizable job seeker profile form, add fields to capture information relevant to the geospatial niche. Job 'Agents' for registered candidates are unlimited and customizable with user defined search criteria including job category, location, keywords, zip code/radius miles, etc. To control the frequency of engagement, tools are built in with 'auto-opt-out' links at the bottom of every job agent email. GeoSearch also has service offerings for new college graduates looking to find their first job.
The redesign also includes social media plug-in's that engage the geospatial community to stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings. The site is search engine optimized to increase traffic and connect more geospatial employers with geospatial job seekers.
"The clean look and simple navigation of the new site provides our customers with an easy method to reach their desired audience." said GeoSearch President Richard Serby.
GeoSearch, Inc. (http://www.geosearch.com) is a personnel recruitment firm specializing in the geospatial sciences and technologies operating since 1989. We offer a wide range of cost-effective and efficient recruitment products and services in geospatial sciences, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning Systems (GPS), photogrammetry, and many other related sciences. We recruit technical, management, sales and marketing professionals. Our highly targeted candidate database and long history in the geospatial sciences allow immediate access to qualified professionals.
Currently in discussion on slashdot, here is their summary : "A simple $30 GPS jammer made in China can ruin your day. It doesn't just affect your car's navigation — ATM machines, cell phone towers, plane, boat, train navigation systems all depend upon GPS signals that are easily blocked. These devices fail badly — with no redundancy. These jammers can be used to defeat vehicle tracking products — but end up causing a moving cloud of chaos. The next wave of anti-GPS devices include GPS spoofers to trick or confuse nearby devices."
Here's the recent geonews that haven't made it into an individual story in batch mode.
From the open source / open data front:
From the ESRI front:
In the everything-else category:
In the maps category:
During my absence last week, Slashdot discussed a story named Kids Who Skip School Get Tracked By GPS.
Their summary: "Frustrated by students habitually skipping class, police and the Anaheim Union High School District are turning to GPS tracking to ensure they come to class. The six-week pilot program is the first in California to test GPS. Seventh- and eighth-graders with four unexcused absences or more this school year are assigned to carry a handheld GPS device, about the size of a cell phone. Five times a day, they are required to enter a code that tracks their locations – as they leave for school, when they arrive at school, at lunchtime, when they leave school and at 8 p.m."
CAMBRIDGE, UK, 21st February 2011 – Cambridge Wirelessannounced today the latest presentation from the Location Based Systems / Service Special Interest Group in collaboration with CoDE, The Cultures of the Digital Economy (CoDE) Research Institute, Anglia Ruskin University. The event will be taking place on 23rd March and is kindly sponsored by CSR, Cambridge. For more information, please visit www.cambridgewireless.co.uk/events
This special Location SIG event explores the sensitive issue of privacy vs. personalised services. Most smart-phones have built in GPS and an increasing number of applications make use of the location capability of the phone, with this real and exciting development of new technology comes the time to debate the implications for personal privacy.
Nigel Wall, Shadow Creek Consulting and SIG Champion for this event commented, “The latest in the series of Location SIG events examines the privacy trade-off for users of social networks and advanced smart-phone applications where location information is shared. The risks and opportunities rise significantly when location information is shared. We shall consider the issues from various perceptions: users, suppliers and legislation. This current and sensitive topic will prove interesting and thought–provoking for many.”
Key industry speakers will address the following issues relating to these advancements:
• Does use of location technology create real threats to personal privacy?
• Do users need to understand what information is collected and the way in which their movements could be tracked?
• Is there a healthy trade-off between loss of privacy and provision of personalised services (e.g. advice on services in the immediate vicinity)?
• Location determination by image recognition is becoming feasible – does this raise further issues, if individuals can be recognised?
• Does the industry need to pay more attention to protecting privacy?
• Best practices to adopt.
KanwarChadha, Chief Marketing Officer and Board Member of CSR says “This event will prove incredibly interesting as it addresses the issues of “Relevant Location” with the possibilities of protecting consumers whilst enhancing their service.”
Confirmed speakers include; KanwarChadha, CSR, Dr Andrew Matthews, Nokia Research Centre, Patrick Clark, Taylor Wessing, Prof. Jonathan Raper, Placr and Dr. David Skinner, Anglia Ruskin University.
About Cambridge Wireless
Cambridge Wireless is a leading industry forum and vibrant community with a rapidly expanding network of companies actively involved in the development and application of wireless technologies. In addition to high level networking dinners, educational events and business development activities, Cambridge Wireless runs an annual Future of Wireless International Conference along with the Discovering Start-Ups initiative to support emerging, innovative wireless companies. Over 15 Special Interest Groups focused on specific technologies and market sectors, also provide opportunities for members to meet, form partnerships to exploit new commercial opportunities, and share knowledge and information about the latest industry trends and hot topics. Cambridge Wireless has partnerships with other leading industry clusters and organisations around the world to extend its international reach and to keep members up to date with the latest global developments and business opportunities. For more information, please visit www.cambridgewireless.co.uk
About CoDE, Anglia Ruskin University
The Cultures of the Digital Economy (CoDE) Research Institute is a multidisciplinary initiative at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. CoDE is a network of academics working in media theory and network culture, media archaeology, digital music and video, fine arts, video games, production and performance, serious gaming and digital text, combined with scientific contributions from colleagues involved with design and technology, audio engineering and computer design and animation.
Its key emerging research areas include social media and network politics, digital performance and production, digital humanities and play and serious gaming. The Institute fosters a critical and experimental interdisciplinary research environment and through projects, seminars and published research aims to explore the role of current and emerging technologies in a creative context.
CoDE is crucible for thinking outside traditional disciplinary boundaries and a catalyst for establishing connections with industry and local, national and international communities. Its location in Cambridge provides it with excellent potential for collaboration with entertainment, technological, scientific, arts and the heritage industries. For more information, please visit: http://www.anglia.ac.uk/ruskin/en/home/microsites/code.html
CSR plc is a leading provider of multifunction connectivity and location platforms. CSR's technology portfolio includes Bluetooth, GPS, FM, Wi-Fi (IEEE802.11), UWB, NFC and other technologies to enable silicon platforms that incorporate fully integrated radio, baseband and microcontroller elements. CSR's Connectivity Centre is designed to enhance the user experience with mainstream mobile devices by intelligent integration of multiple wireless connectivity and location-awareness technologies. CSR's Location Platforms are complemented by wireless connectivity and multimedia capabilities for high-volume mobile consumer devices and commercial applications.
CSR's technology has been adopted by market leaders into a wide range of mobile consumer devices such as mobile phones, automobile navigation and telematics systems, portable navigation devices (PNDs), wireless headsets, mobile computers, mobile internet devices, GPS recreational devices, digital cameras, mobile gaming, plus a wide range of personal and commercial tracking applications.
For Cambridge Wireless please contact:
Claire Hamence, Events and Marketing Coordinator,
Tel: +44 1223 422 365
Distributed on behalf of Cambridge Wireless by NeonDrum news distribution service (http://www.neondrum.com)