Kevin Malinoski ISC 110

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Nov 3, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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Kevin Malinoski








ISC 110

Location Based Web Services


Since the start of smartphone location based web services have been in place on
them. These are services that use the device’s location to help aid in the usefulness of the
device. As we entered into a time of iPhones and Android devices, these services ha
ve
become more and more relevant on the machines. Their uses have spread throughout the
device and into many different and unique applications for the phone. At the inception of
these location based services they were very well received. However, in time m
any
troubling situations h
a
ve been brought to light of what the companies actually use your
data for.

There are many benefits to location based web services, but also many
controversial topics that have been associated with it.


A location based web servic
e is de
fined as

a
n information service provided
mainly to mobile devices, through the mobile networks
. It utilizes geographical data to
provide information to a user on a mobile terminal

(Edwardes, Neun
,

& Stejniger, 2011)
.
There are two types of ways that

the information it given to the user. The first way is
called a pull service. This occurs when the user requests information from the device. The
information is then sent to the user from the server to the device. The other way is called
a push service. I
n this way the user does not do anything to get the information. The
information is pushed through to them from the server without any effort done on the
user’s behalf

(Edwardes, Neun
,

& Stejniger, 2011)
. This second way is mostly utilized
for marketing an
d advertisement purposes.


The way that location based web services work is through a very simple cycle.
First, it starts with the user on their mobile terminal requesting some kind of information.
This request is then sent through their mobile communicati
on network. Along with the
search their coordinates are sent with the search too

(Edwardes, Neun
,

& Stejniger, 2011)
.
This is done by one of two ways. Most phones have Global Positioning Devices built it
that can exactly pinpoint a location. If the device
does not though, it can use wireless
networks and cell towers to triangulate an approximate position. Next
,

you
r

location and
the inquiry is sent to something called a geo database. A geo database is a service
provided to major cell phone and

operating sy
stem manufacturers (
Bonsor
).

A company
owns this geo database, and thousands upon thousands of information is stored there.
Information pertaining to where different companies,
landmarks, and infrastructures are
around certain locations is stored in this
geo database. So, when the information is sent to
this geo database the most prevalent results are taken from it and sent b
ack to the user on
their device (Edwardes, Neun
,

& Stejniger, 2011).

That is the main framework of how a
location based service work
s.


There are many applications that people use everyday that take advantage of
location based services. The most obvious use of this information is of course, in
mapping technologies. Maps across all platforms are very big selling points for phones,
and a
re one of the most popular apps on them. Most map applications have a button that
you can press, and it will very quickly put a dot on the map as to where you are

(Madrigal,
2012)
. Some of these map applications even show you the direction you are facing w
ith
the device.


Photography has also been very influenced by location based web services. There
is a new feature on many smartphone know as ‘geo tagging.’ What this has been utilized
very heavily for is taking pictures. So now when a user takes a picture

at a location, in
many applications this is saved to a photo map. This photo map shows a map and pins
dropped everywhere on it to show which pictures the user has taken where. So it creates a
new way organize photos on a device.

Social networking has been

very big for locations based web services. Almost all
of the top applications for social networking use location based services. The main social
networking applications that use location based web services are Facebook, Twitter,
Instagram, and FourSquare,

among others. There are many features such as ‘checking
-
in’
to places and just sharing your location to your friends so they can all see where you are.

These checking in feature have made it very easy for businesses to have whole new
marketing campaigns,
by offering discounts and promotions through people checking
into their establishments. This has benefitted both the user and the companies through
basically free adve
rtising with perks for the user.

Location based web services

are also very useful when implemented into web
searches and inquires. Google is a company that uses them very well. For instance, when
“food” is typed into Google the first this that comes up is a top bar with all the restaurants
in the current location. T
his very similar to the Siri application that is loaded in Apple’s
operating system iOS. You can ask Siri from things from nearby
restaurants

to movie
show

times and the theatres closest to you.

All of these things are done by just asking one
question to t
hese services, without having to enter in a zip code or any other location
information

(Edwardes, Neun
,

& Stejniger, 2011)
. Websites have become more efficient
in delivering the information that is important and relevant to the user through location
based
web services.

However, there has been much controversy with location based web services,
primarily with data tracking and storing. This first came into light when a hidden file was
discovered on iOS called “consolidated.db”. What was discovered in this dat
abase turned
out to be all of the users personal information. In most cases it turned out to be tracking
everywhere the user had been using the location based web services

(
iphone location
tracking
, 2011)
. All of this privacy information was being stored i
n a folder that was
discovered to be very easy for a hacker to break into,
jeopardizing the users safety. Apple
tried to counter this by saying that it was useful for incriminating criminals in the court,
which it was

(
iphone location tracking
, 2011).
. How
ever, it was still seen suspicious that
Apple has been trying to hard to keep this file a secret in the iOS system. Then a little
after this the Android operating system was caught doing the same thing, except this time
all of the information was being sen
t straight to Google

(Bigler, 2011)
. They were using
the information for company benefit and selling it to companies to help them appeal to
certain customers. A CBS news station said, “
Both tech companies have reportedly been
gathering information for use
in location
-
based services


a business that could be
lucrative to the tune of $8 billion

within a matter of a few years.


(Beigler, 2011).

This
ultimately comes down to that what these both companies were doing to it’s users was a
huge invasion of privacy

that they did not even know about.

In conclusion, location based web services have come a long way since the start
of smartphones. The have enhanced and revolutionized how information is delivered to
us and what we can do with that information. However, t
hey have also invaded our
personal information without being to our knowledge. Ultimately it has come down to the
users choice, if you are a fan of the location based web services, and all that they have
delivered to your phone, and do not mind about the c
ollecting of information then enjoy
the service. However, if you feel personally violated that a company that you have
invested trust and money in is now exploiting you, and wish to change it so you cannot be
tracked, the answer is just as easy as flicking

the switch to off for location based services.




















References:


Bigler, M. (2011, April 22).
Google android os joins smartphone tracking controversy
.
Retrieved from
http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2011/04/22/google
-
now
-
implicated
-
in
-
smartphone
-
tracking
-
controversy
-
2/


Bonsor, K. (n.d.).
How location tracking works
. Retrieved from

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/everyday
-
tech/location
-
tracking1.htm


Edwardes, A., Neun, M.,

& Stejniger, S. (2011
).
Foundations of location based services
.

Retrieved from
http://www.spatial.cs.umn.edu/Courses/Fall11/8715/papers/IM7_steiniger.pdf


Madrigal, A. (2012, April 25). What does your phone
know about you? more than you

think. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/04/

what
-
does
-
your
-
phone
-
know
-
about
-
you
-
more
-
than
-
you
-
think/237786


iphone

location tracking data raises controversy
. (2011, April 28). Retrieved from
http://www.dfinews.com/news/iphone
-
location
-
tracking
-
data
-
raises
-
controversy