Thursday, August 13, 2009

Palm criticised over Pre privacy

Palm criticised over Pre privacy

Palm Pre, Palm
The Pre is widely seen as a rival to other popular smartphones

Palm has responded to claims that its recently-launched Pre smartphone abuses owners' privacy.

The company issued a statement after one owner discovered his phone was sending data every day back to Palm.

The information included the current location of the phone and how long each application was used for.

In its statement, Palm said it took users' privacy "seriously" and said it gave phone owners ways to turn features on and off.

The discovery was made by software developer and Pre owner Joey Hess, who found that his phone was reporting his location over a secure connection back to Palm. It also sent back information about application crashes - even those not seen by a Pre owner.

Also in the daily update sent to Palm was a list of the third party applications installed on the phone.

In its privacy policy, Palm does explain that it will gather geographical data to help with location-based services. However, commentators were puzzled as to why it needed to gather so much data and why owners were not told about what it had gathered.

Mr Hess found a way to disable the reporting by editing the phone's software.

Palm issued a statement about Mr Hess' discovery and said it "offers users ways to turn data collecting services on and off".

It added: "Our privacy policy is like many policies in the industry and includes very detailed language about potential scenarios in which we might use a customer's information, all toward a goal of offering a great user experience."

"We appreciate the trust that users give us with their information, and have no intention to violate that trust," said Palm.

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