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Why does a calculator app need access to my location?

February 2, 2015 4 comments

I recently purchased a new tablet device and was a little surprised to see it didn’t have a calculator app installed. Undeterred, I headed off to the online store, selected what seemed like a reasonable solution and started to install it. No sooner had it touched my device than it asked me was it OK to access my location information.

Why would a calculator app need access to my location information? Is subtraction optimised at sea-level, is addition better at altitude? There was no attempt to explain why the app wanted access to this information or what use the information would be put to. It felt decidedly ‘creepy’. The only two possible scenarios I could think of were:

  • The location information would be harvested and sold on to pay the ‘free’ app I’d just downloaded.
  • Or by tracking my location were the app developers hoping to profile my behaviour and send other app or service recommendations my way based on where I’d been?

Our location histories says so much about what we do, what we like, where we work and so on, that to marketing companies and other interested parties, location data seem to be the holy grail of consumer metrics. Any opportunity to gather that information is not to be missed.

I said No to the calculator app to using my location data but if I had been given more information, I might have been prepared to say Yes.

 

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