AP: Photo of Ichann with iPad

iBeacon…the signal is coming from inside your house!

It’s is true. Big brother is watching you. They know where you are, guess what you are thinking and can now pressure you by what you are standing near in the shopping center. Santa has nothing on these devices. iBeacon is the new ‘advancement’ Apple is pushing, according to a story found on Uncommon Wisdom which is an interesting site focusing on investing in an uncertain time. The more insidious thing is the technology has already been put in place, before you even knew you were getting this ‘bonus’ feature.

This week Apple rolled out the iBeacon location technology in all its U.S. stores. Walk into one of them with your iPhone and you will see the future of retailing. Your phone will notice your presence and begin sending you information and special offers based on where you stand.

 

The iBeacon feature is similar to GPS, but much more precise. It uses in-store sensors that can track your phone within centimeters.

 

Apple is promoting this technology in its own stores, but I think they have much bigger plans. New analyst reports say every Apple device since the iPhone 4 is an iBeacon receiver.

 

In other words, the many stores that already have iPads can now use them to interact with customer-owned devices. They bought the hardware they need without even knowing it.

Now, I am an Apple fan and I love the idea of tech. But to me this feels like it is going a little too far. Given all the stories as of late about governmental infringement on privacy and a loss of personal anonymity due to corporate collusion with said governments, I am not sure I am in favor of this. It seems like it has now become far too easy to keep tabs on us. Even without our own efforts to make is easy.

Besides, I thought one of the original benefits of a cell phone was you did not show on call lists. Now, I get numerous calls just as before with my land line. Is this going to open a whole new level of advertising and spamming while using our bandwidth? That is another issue: who covers the cost of the data being sent? Will it go against your allotment?

While I will not argue that technology is definitely bad, it does seem to be heading down a slope of opt-in spyware. To me, it seems to be turning a corner from a useful tool to a nagging reminder to shop and always be tracked on the grid.

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