2.OH NO!: GPS and the BlackBerry

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If you missed the opening commentary for 2.0H NO!, check out last week’s column where I lend an insightful look into why BlackBerry addiction isn’t really that bad. I just don’t want to repeat myself, so have at it and come on back.

If you’re up to speed, let’s continue. With the release of built-in GPS on the BlackBerry 8800, the paranoia is starting to set in and folks are even more concerned than ever about being watched while they’re PIN’ing their wife about what’s for dinner (maybe the CIA is hungry, too, that’s why they want to know…). Obviously I’ve got a take on the topic, and to see it in all of it’s glory, hit that jump.

For starters, let’s review. GPS isn’t exactly new. It made it’s first appearance in the late 70′s, 1978 to be exact, with an experimental satellite being shot up into the atmosphere. Since then, we’ve seen the technology evolve into so much more. Now, GPS is used with nearly all forms of transportation, surveying, mapping, and there’s a multitude of other uses ontop of that.

One thing that’s grown along with the popularity of GPS is the fear of the ability for other parties to track you – and like I said, with the BlackBerry 8800 now sporting the technology, some of our own are starting to sweat. People are looking for ways to rip the technology out of the device and I’m telling you this: relax.

How did get here in the first place, folks? YOU wanted it in there, didn’t you? According to both of RIM’s executives and a plethora of reviews, GPS is one of the most requested technologies to be included in smartphones and other gadgets. Why does there have to be party poopers pooping on the GPS? They’re not worried about being watched by the big guys (see: CIA, FBI, TGIFriday’s), they’re worried about their peers, their BOSSES, peering in on them.

It’s right in the specs itself, one of the intended uses of GPS on the BlackBerry is employee tracking. Look:

Built-in GPS also gives you access to a wide range of other Location-Based Services (LBS), like employee and resource tracking, social networking and more.

And THAT’s why people are getting worried. But here’s the thing: if something like this is actually a concern for you, something tells me you shouldn’t be using a BlackBerry in the first place – that, or you don’t trust your boss and should immediately vacate your snug cubicle.

If you’re worried about being tracked, chances are you’re doing some things that shouldn’t be happening. Your boss isn’t going to GPS track you to the gentleman’s club that you spent your lunch hour at, and if he did – maybe he just wanted to know why you didn’t invite him along with you. If you really do have some viable arguments about the GPS on your device, sit-down with your BES administrator or even your boss and voice your concerns. The worst thing that could happen is they laugh until they tear up right in your face, right?

That or they actually are tracking you.

  • Thought

    Steve: I agree…any worries about GPS tracking are way overblown. Aside from all of the points you mentioned, let’s also add this one: consider the resources it takes to actually track a large group of people. Companies are not going to dedicate those resources unless there is a good reason to…among them, those you listed…techs out in the field, delivery personnel, etc. It’s not as if a business is going to dedicate a large budget simply because the boss is nosy.

    As for govt tracking, again, govts. don’t have the resources to keep that kind of attention on all of their citizens, even if they should want to.

    I remember a friend of mine once had the same fears regarding going through toll booths on toll roads with an electronic pass…he actually was worried that the govt would use that to track his movements. His girlfriend at that time thought it all foolish and came up with a great response: if the govt wanted to track her movements and see her going from home to work, to the grocery store, to the school to pick up her kids, all of the aspects of her rather ordinary life,..well, then let them. As she said so eloquently, who gives a rats a**?

  • Thought

    Steve: I agree…any worries about GPS tracking are way overblown. Aside from all of the points you mentioned, let’s also add this one: consider the resources it takes to actually track a large group of people. Companies are not going to dedicate those resources unless there is a good reason to…among them, those you listed…techs out in the field, delivery personnel, etc. It’s not as if a business is going to dedicate a large budget simply because the boss is nosy.

    As for govt tracking, again, govts. don’t have the resources to keep that kind of attention on all of their citizens, even if they should want to.

    I remember a friend of mine once had the same fears regarding going through toll booths on toll roads with an electronic pass…he actually was worried that the govt would use that to track his movements. His girlfriend at that time thought it all foolish and came up with a great response: if the govt wanted to track her movements and see her going from home to work, to the grocery store, to the school to pick up her kids, all of the aspects of her rather ordinary life,..well, then let them. As she said so eloquently, who gives a rats a**?

  • http://blackberryinsight.com/ k

    I agree with you 100%!

    GPS is best feature that can be in a mobile device! There is nothing to worry about. Those who worry just switch it off. It’s so easy!

  • http://blackberryinsight.com k

    I agree with you 100%!

    GPS is best feature that can be in a mobile device! There is nothing to worry about. Those who worry just switch it off. It’s so easy!

  • John Smith

    I have a question. My company is dead set on getting all of it’s outside personel one of these blackberry phones. We will be required to log our calls at the time the call is made, which will then be uploaded into the company computer system. They then will take this data to a:See what time we first made the call. b:How long we stayed at the call. c: It is a requirment of your employment with the company. My question is this. Will they also be able to track us where we are at all times using this type of system? And, will there be a way to turn off that part of the system without interupting the other part, that being the actual upload of the call? I am one that does my job, but I do not like somebody looking over my shoulder. Your input would be helpful. And, yes, my name really is John Smith. Thanks.

  • John Smith

    I have a question. My company is dead set on getting all of it’s outside personel one of these blackberry phones. We will be required to log our calls at the time the call is made, which will then be uploaded into the company computer system. They then will take this data to a:See what time we first made the call. b:How long we stayed at the call. c: It is a requirment of your employment with the company. My question is this. Will they also be able to track us where we are at all times using this type of system? And, will there be a way to turn off that part of the system without interupting the other part, that being the actual upload of the call? I am one that does my job, but I do not like somebody looking over my shoulder. Your input would be helpful. And, yes, my name really is John Smith. Thanks.