Your smart phone is a portable personal data machine that records your every move. That's scary. For one, it's easy to lose and for thieves to re-sell. And that's just the phone itself. If the servers that hold all the information it collects are ever hacked, your data could end up in someone else's hands, too. That may also happen without any malicious interventions: You're allowing mobile companies to collect your information and share it with advertisers (or really, anyone), and you might not even realize it. As discovered last spring, the iPhone tracks your every move and sends it to Apple headquarters.
As smart phones increase in popularity--36 percent of consumers in the United States will use mobile Internet services by 2015 reports Vega--privacy protection will only increase in importance. The current methods are just baby steps, says Senator Al Franken the chairman of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on privacy, technology and the law, who has proposed legislation to require cell companies to obtain consent before collecting data. "Recent efforts to increase the availability of mobile privacy policies, like Mr. Brock’s policy generator, 'is a good first step in informing consumers,'" Senator Franken said in an e-mail to New York Times reporter Tanzina Vega. "But it alone will not address the majority of privacy threats that consumers face on their mobile devices." Given the myriad privacy concerns mobile phones present, companies are beginning to devise ways to protect customers. Yet if you want to safeguard information from one evil source, you might have to give it up to another.