My Phone Knows Everything About Me and I’m Cool With That

iphonetracker.jpg
Andrew Hyde gets around. The iPhone Tracker app confirms this. (Photo via flickr).

Andrew Hyde sold all of his worldly possessions last August and began a trip around the world. He makes no secret of this — its detailed on his website. We’re well aware that personal information becomes vulnerable whenever we agree to the terms of service of yet another fun geo-location mobile app as it typically utilizes information from the phone’s positioning to track real-time location. But this week, geodata geek and author Pete Warden released an open-source iPhone application that exploits a file in iPhone 4 (or iPad 3G) containing all recorded geographic data in the phone’s history.

The information is available without a password to anyone with access to a laptop that the iPhone in question has synced with, notes Hyde. iPhones and iPads on iOS 4 record approximate the data based on the devices distance from the cell tower it is connected to at any given time. Is this something to worry about? Not really. Unless you’re a criminal with a bullshit alibi — data from cellphones and other mobile devices have been used by authorities for years.

Thanks to a California Supreme Court decision in January, no warrant is required for authorities in our state to search cell phones or mobile devices of arrestees.

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Help Fundraise for One Economy: Bringing Tech and Internet to Communities in Need

Please click here to visit my razoo.com fundraising page or use the widget at right.

Online fundraising platform Razoo launched a new DonateAnywhere widget this month and I’m excited to be selected to the #ZooGooder team of a dozen or so chosen to lead a series of discussions on fundraising in the digital age of social media.

Join us for our first weekly Twitter chat at 6 p.m. PT / 9p.m. ET and. John Haydon will be co-hosting the first one. To participate, use your favorite Twitter client or service and follow the #zooGood hashtag.

In addition to these weekly chats, I chose to raise funds for One Economy Corporation with a goal of raising $8,000 by the end of the year. Not an easy choice given the breadth of my endeavors and pet projects and the 1.5 million or so fundraising causes listed on razoo.com. But after much internal deliberation and debate (and cross-research on sites like Charity Navigator) I decided that One Economy will have the most effective global reach with the money I raise as part of the #zooGood campaign. One Economy brings broadband into low-income households and builds and maintains virtual and physical community centers to provide underserved communities the training and tools needed to leverage the internet for information and local resources on education, jobs, health care and other vital issues.

More about One Economy in the video below:

This is a cause that I have long been passionate about and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to focus on it more publicly in the coming months. One Economy Corp is a top (4-star) rated charitable organization according to Charity Navigator and it has been expanding its geographic focus areas over its 10-years to cover the Middle East, Africa, and North America. More recently, One Economy launched PIC.tv, the Public Internet Channel website, which has boundless potential that I find very exciting as a long-time web producer and content creator myself.

So let’s see if we can hit $8,000 in two months, while helping to bolster One Economy Corp’s profile as a leading charitable protagonist for leveling the playing field, proliferating the spread of broadband and computer ed into underserved communities, and creating opportunities and local resources in cities and villages worldwide.

I’m dropping my first $10 in the bucket and you can too — the widget is on the right side of this blog. Your support is greatly appreciated – if you’d rather not donate money, thanks for reading this far and for your generous re-Tweet and/or Facebook share! You can also fan One Economy on Facebook and check out the Digital Connectors page (some of whom met recently with FCC chairman Julius Genachowski in SF).

Thanks and see you on the #zooGood hashtag!

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Public [Dis]service Message: Regular People Use the Library for Internet Access EVERY DAY!

la public libraries are closed on sundays andn mondays. this is beverly hills public library on a monday
Beverly Hills Public Library is open seven days a week. Some spaces are exclusively for public internet use. No books on these shelves. | Photo by Andy Sternberg/LAist

LA Public Libraries are closed on Sundays and Mondays due to unruly budget cuts. This includes the historic Central Library – a downtown landmark and one of the largest libraries in the country – in addition to all 70 LAPL branches. Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Burbank patrons can access their library’s resources 7 days a week.

How do we fix this? LA City Council President Eric Garcetti told me last month (in a Twitter reply) that the library cuts signify about $10 million in savings for the city “…and I am working to see if this 15% cut can be mitigated as soon as economy/receipts pick up.”

This is an issue that should irritate everyone who feels part of the community as it affects education, jobs, and the digital divide, not to mention the amount of waste contributed to people who are forced to buy new books because the library is closed on their day off.

As long as our elected officials are corrupting our tax dollars for personal and professional gain, we should not allow them to take away our communities’ most precious resources (a far more valuable allocation of taxes, dontcha think?). This shouldn’t require a costly amendment that, if passed, would add a $39 parcel tax to our plate.

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