CACM on location-awareness and location-tracking
The last issue of Communications of the ACM featured an article about location-based services that deals with user perceptions of location-tracking and location-awareness services. Some excerpts I find interesting here: First, about the slow adoption of these technologies:
"Generally, the slow adoption of LBS has been explained primarily by three causes. First, the implementation of more accurate localization techniques (such as E-OTD, U-TDOA, or A-GPS) through providers has taken longer and has been more costly than expected. Second, the few available LBS applications display long response times, often too long for users to handle. And third, users are concerned about privacy issues that are an inevitable side effect of LBS. "
I found interesting the framing in the article in terms of "humans" and "non-humans" although it's not referring to Latour's work: "one of the entities, whether human or non-human, is always the object of LBS, that is, it is the entity about which location information is recorded". The authors also make the distinction between location-aware systems and location-tracking services:
"Location-tracking services provide information about a user's whereabouts to entities other than the user, while location-aware services supply the user (the information requester) with personal location data. In the case of location-aware services, the location-information- causing entity is the recipient, whereas for location-tracking services, an external third party requests and receives location information about another entity. A car navigation system is a location-aware service. Here, location information is provided to the requester (the driver) who, in return, receives real-time navigational services. Other examples of location-aware services include location-sensitive billing (paying while passing toll stations), and location-specific store advertisements sent to a consumer's mobile phone when the person is in proximity."
In their lab experiments, the authors found that people found location-tracking capabilities more useful than location-aware services. Why do I blog this? the situation concerning LBS seems to be the same as time unfold, the same questions as the one discussed in the last 5 years are still unsolved (privacy is and will always be a problem. Things discussed in this paper echoes a lot with my ETech 2008 presentation.