Sleep with one eye open. Facebook has just patented a new technology that allows it not only to track where you go (this isn’t news, they’ve been doing this for ages), but to predict where you might be. The new technology, called “Offline Trajectories,” will track you, according to Engadget, “based at least in part on previously logged location data.”
The timing of these news is not very good for Facebook, who also own Instagram and What’s App. The New York Times published an exposé just yesterday, that details the staggering amount of location data that apps, like Facebook, collect and sell. The article argues that this happens in a grey area of consent, the corporations knowing full well that nobody on earth has the time to read through all the pages of legal jargon that make up the standard privacy agreement or terms of service of an app. Most of us would rather just say “ok” to the “enable location data” pop-up an let that be the end of it.
The Times quotes a Senator,Ron Wyden, who says that “location information can reveal some of the most intimate details of a person’s life — whether you’ve visited a psychiatrist, whether you went to an A.A. meeting, who you might date.”
For their part, Facebook told BuzzFeed News that they might not end up using the patent: “we often seek patents for technology we never implement, and patent applications — such as this one — should not be taken as an indication of future plans.” Even so, it’s scary stuff.