As enraged as you may or may not be over the fact that your phone is tracking your location, you have to admit… it’s a pretty interesting story. The Wall Street Journal has filed a new report stating that both Apple and Google are collecting location data from their smartphone users — deflecting some of the public outrage in Google’s direction as well. “According to new research by security analyst Samy Kamkar, an HTC Android phone collected its location every few seconds and transmitted the data to Google at least several times an hour,” writes the Journal. Researcher Mike Castleman has developed a program that will harvest and parse location data stored on your Android device. The script isn’t quite as user-friendly as its iOS counterpart — you need root access to your device and some command line experience (as opposed to just clicking on a pretty icon and seeing your coordinates on a map) — but it will present you with a formatted location list. Castleman notes that the code used to collect location is “no longer open from Google” and that the data collected gets “pruned” when new location information is added. “Following the latest days internet outrage/overreaction to the revelation that iPhone has a cache for its location service, I decided to have look what my Android devices caches for the same function,” Castleman writes. If you’re interested in trying to squeeze the location information from your Android handset, hit the jump. The necessary links are waiting for you. More →
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that U.S. wireless providers AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless are working on a joint project that aims to bring a mobile-phone payment system Stateside. Purportedly, the effort is being headed by General Electric executive Michael Abbott and will be financed by Barclays PLC and Discover Financial Services.
“The rare showing of cooperation between three of the four national carriers creates a potentially large base of users for its mobile-payment system,” writes the Journal. “The carriers are eager to move into mobile transactions because it represents a new revenue stream and another feature that gets subscribers spending more time on their phone.”
The report goes on to note that the announcement of the new service’s existence could come as early as today. Mobile payments systems have been in use in Canada and Europe for several years. More →
A new study out of Stanford University shows that our touchscreen cellphones are some of the dirtiest, filthiest, bacteria-harboring vessels out there. How dirty? The study found that an average cell phone has 18x more bacteria than a toilet handle in a men’s public-restroom. In addition to having more bacteria, the fact that we use our fingers to interact with the device is also quite a problem. The Stanford study found that once the germs are on the devices, 30% of the germs will make their way on to your hands, and from there… well, you know, you rub your eyes, mouth, etc. And some of you wonder why you always catch me with a Purell bottle.