Invisible GPS Footprints

I have a friend who uses the cell phone tracker on his wife’s phone to keep up with her location. She doesn’t seem to mind — it means fewer calls while she’s driving to her destination, or held up in traffic, or waiting in line to stock up on supplies for the zombie apocalypse. Personally, I would rather have a phone call. But that’s probably because I have a conspiratorial mind, and just finished writing a technothriller about a near-future world where people with brain implants try to track (and hack) each other. Writing a book like that made me a little crazy, I think. A little suspicious.

So I deactivated “location services” on my phone. At first it was kind of a drag, especially when I almost got lost and couldn’t immediately pull up my current location on the map. I had to figure it out the old-fashioned way, meaning that I actually read the street signs. Then I found my location on the map app without that handy blue dot. I know. It’s like I live in the Dark Ages. (Of course, there was that one other time, when my husband had to come find me. But we won’t discuss that…)

What about you? How do you feel about our widespread trend toward absolutely NO privacy? (And don’t hesitate to let me know if you think I’ve overstated the issue.)

8 thoughts on “Invisible GPS Footprints

  1. Very funny blog today!

    Yes, I think we are inevitably going to no privacy, unless you take drastic action to restore it for yourself, but that also means being greatly inconvenienced, extra work, etc.

    We should learn how to achieve privacy, then not worry about it until the persecution begins. In the meantime, just live above reproach?

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    1. Living above reproach is always a good plan. And praying for lack of corruption at the higher levels. Other than that, I just try to watch my own choices, and guard my kids’ privacy from an early age. So far the only drastic action has been saying “no” to things they want (but don’t yet need).Thanks for the comment, Zack!

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  2. “…(Of course, there was that one other time, when my husband had to come find me. But we won’t discuss that…)…”

    And of course, this is all I can think about. Were you floating down a river heading for white water rapids? Was a grizzly bear tracking you in the woods? Or were you inside a DeLorean heading back to the future?

    The hook is set for more.

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    1. The world may never know… though I will say that a DeLorean would have been far more interesting, and I’m glad it wasn’t a grizzly bear. But what kind of thriller writer would I be, if I didn’t leave you in suspense? 🙂

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  3. I think that we’re giving up our right to privacy, and most of it’s willingly. And it’s thanks to social media.

    We have a generation of people coming up who don’t know that you don’t have to share your location. You don’t have to share your every thought. You don’t have to share your email address, cell phone number, home address with the rest of the world. They are being conditioned to share everything and expect everything to be shared by others.

    For me, there is only so much I want strangers to know about me, and where I am at all times isn’t one of those things.

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    1. Hi Jarrett, you make a good observation that this generation rarely questions the value (or need for) privacy. Most of our technology often has pro-privacy programming, like the ability to turn off location tracking. But since the default is to have it on, few people go through the trouble to turn it off. There’s a sense of “what’s the point?” I have a feeling in the years to come we’ll begin seeing repercussions in our culture. It’s a strange time to be alive, but exciting in many ways as well.

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