That's not as far as it goes, either -- if the software required to set up and maintain a geolocation database is free and open source, then anybody who does not trust the central provider can set up a dedicated machine with any desired level of security and privacy measures taken.
<br><br>There are some who would not think twice about letting their location be known to those that they list as friends -- users of Twitter and similar services come to mind immediately. At the same time - thanks to The Magic of Free Software - corporate users, journalists, and privacy-minded individuals can keep close tabs on what happens to their information.
<br><br>On that note, nothing stops servers running the same sort of geolocation databases from networking, either. If I host such a database on my own trusted machine in order to increase my privacy, I could still export choice data points (once per day, or upon special request, for instance) to a public database where anybody on my friends list can get at them. That way, I can carefully restrict the ability of any third party to amass information about me, while still selectively geonetworking with my friends.
<br><br><div><span class="gmail_quote">On 7/4/07, <b class="gmail_sendername">Nick Johnson</b> <<a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>> wrote:</span><blockquote class="gmail_quote" style="border-left: 1px solid rgb(204, 204, 204); margin: 0pt 0pt 0pt 0.8ex; padding-left: 1ex;">
On 7/4/07, Ryan Prior <<a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>> wrote:<br>> You seem to imply that there is a technical infeasibility that cannot be<br>> overcome. If the public point database were segregated by a UNIX-style
<br>> permissions system and connected to via SSH, wouldn't it be just about as<br>> safe as any public file server or database? Files that are "shared" can be<br>> accessed, files that are private stay private. A server-side daemon could
<br>> negotiate friends lists, proximity, and other details without ever exposing<br>> private position data publicly.<br>><br>> Am I missing something on the privacy front? Perhaps I just didn't grok your
<br>> example.<br><br>SSL would be better suited - perhaps that's what you meant.<br><br>The main issue, I think, is that it requires users to trust this<br>third-party database with some very personal information - possibly up
<br>to and including an ongoing log of their location. Even if the site<br>itself is trustworthy, if it were compromised it could easily be<br>exposed.<br><br>The obvious solution, of course, is to simply restrict your userbase
<br>to those that are happy with the tradeoff.<br><br>-Nick Johnson<br></blockquote></div><br>