FYI: The Pre Reports Your Location to Palm
Joey Hess has taken a closer look at the code inside webOS that reports information back to Palm and found some details on what the Pre is sending back to headquarters. Specifically, it appears that the Pre uploads (at least) the following information to Palm on a daily basis:
- Which apps you've used and for how long
- App crash logs
- Installed apps
It's complicated and we don't want to stir up unwarranted panic here. So follow us after the break to find out just what Palm's policy on all this is -- including what rights they have (and don't have) to share this information.
The provision you’ve quoted explains why Palm might collect user information. For example, we collect and transmit users’ email addresses, email content, contact lists, etc. to provide WebOS services such as back-up and restore for the purpose of backing up that data and helping users restore the data if needed (in that case, it would not be limited to just the email address collected at registration). If users someday make purchases on their device through the Apps Catalog, then we would also collect payment information to process the transaction.
- To Palm affiliates and subsidiaries to support business operations and sales, marketing, and customer support processes;
- To third party service providers and suppliers acting on our behalf to provide products or services to you; and
- To other third parties for purposes you have allowed.
...In other words, although the language seems a little flexible (and again we are not lawyers!), Palm's policy states that they'll only share information with third parties who are "acting on [their] behalf." Presumably that means that the information is only being shared with entities that you would consider to be "Palm" anyway. Sharing with other third parties requires your consent ("purposes you have allowed"). Information sharing crisis averted.
Still and all, if you don't like the idea of a computer at Palm HQ knowing where you are, you might consider turning location services off. If you want to prevent your Pre from uploading information to Palm at all (which may break some of the Pre's functionality, FYI), Hess explains how here - Linux access required.
Update: We have a 2nd statement from Palm on the issue to further calm the waters: