Phone Apps Are Watching You

On December 17th, the Wall Street Journal reported that after examining 101 popular smartphone apps for the iPhone and Android, they found that 56 of these apps transmitted the phone’s unique device ID to other companies, 47 apps transmitted the phone’s location and 5 sent age, gender and other personal details to “outsiders.” All without the users’ “awareness or consent.”

The People’s Guide to the United States Constitution states:

The right of the people to be secure

[safe] in their persons, houses, papers, and effects [personal belongings] , against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause[“probable cause” means a valid reason in presuming someone is guilty of some illegal act], supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Earlier, in Great Britain and in the thirteen colonies, the government could search any person or place it wanted to search without legitimate cause of reason.

This amendment, however, only protects a person where the invasion of privacy is “unreasonable.” It is not considered unreasonable for the police to look into a person’s car or house after an arrest or to follow a suspected criminal across private property in order to make an arrest.

One needs to know this amendment protects people from unreasonable government intrusion.

The issue of private companies intruding into the privacy of other people is already before a California federal court where two separate groups of iPhone and iPad users have sued Apple Inc. seeking a ban on passing user information without consent or monetary compensation.

Another possibility for deciding this issue would be legislation stating what is and is not permissible.