I had to laugh when I read this in in an article from the WSJ about privacy with smart phone apps:

Apps have been around for years, but burst into prominence when Apple opened its App Store in July 2008. Today, the App Store boasts more than 300,000 programs.

Gee, that explains so much. Like why that app I wrote in 1972 never took off… and I thought it was just because cell phones didn’t exist yet.

Oh, and they were known as applications, or simply programs. Only when the Hipster-chic Apple crowd got involved, did they become “apps” as if a couple more syllables were too much effort for the cool crowd.

This article is the latest WSJ article in it’s “let’s scare people about the internet” series, as prolific Twitterer, Jeff Jarvis wrote. Another Twitter post said “the Internet is scary & dangerous, says business doomed to irrelevance by Internet” pointing out that the WSJ might just have an axe to grind in this area. Of course, had it not been for the internet, I’d never have heard about their article…

You probably think of the WSJ as a reputable source of information, yet this article is so obviously slanted against the electronic media it’s laughable. They offer up these factoids about information collected by phone apps, as if it’s some conspiracy, but offer no solution to their readers.

It’s another case of people who don’t understand technology telling us how bad it is for us. For instance, how does an app like Google Maps work without knowing your location? How does the app cited in the article for Gay men function without gender information? As for UID, well, duh, the app needs to know where the app is so that information can be sent back to it. It simply doesn’t work in a vacuum.

I know, maybe there can be some improvements to the collection of information. I know my phone warns you when an app is installed about what information it will share. It’s an all-or-nothing choice, you either okay it, or decline. Maybe you could choose which pieces of the puzzle they get. Or have the option of editing the information. But 99% of people would just hit okay anyway without a thought. Sort of like software licensing agreements…