The Palm Pre is phoning home from your pocket according to mobile software developer Joey Hess. Hess reports that the company’s flagship smartphone is reporting GPS location data and other information back to Palm headquarters on a routine basis.
The application developer says that he has discovered that webOS is programmed to periodically report information back to Palm. Some of the data reportedly making its way to Palm is pretty harmless, such as information detailing webOS crashes. Hess claims, however, that the Pre is also sending user’s GPS location data in addition to application usage information on a daily basis.
Although not fully confirming or denying what information the Pre reports, Palm issued a statement in response to the claims.
The statement fell short of explaining what some collected information was being used for, and also didn’t specifically specify how Pre users can opt to prevent the device from transmitting certain data to Palm.
Concerns regarding privacy and mobile phones are nothing new. While the potential for a user’s location data to be used in some disconcerting ways certainly exists, it’s understandable that such data can indeed also be used anonymously to provide a “great user experience.” Information on crashes and application usage can also be used to improve software usability and stability, and provide benefits such as the ability to anonymously determine application popularity.