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How To Stop The Palm Pre Cell Phone Tracking Software From Violating Your Privacy

By Edited Jan 12, 2016 0 0

Recently, in the wide world of cell phone tracking software the folks over at Palm were outed as automatically having your Palm Pre send your GPS coordinates periodically back to Palm. This information is no doubt used to help them serve you better adds or assist you in using GoogleMaps, but the fact that this tracking goes on automatically and causes a drain on your battery life has left a bad taste in the mouths of many all across the Internet.

In their defense, Palm did disclose the constant cell phone tracking in their privacy agreement - it is just no one actually reads those things. They have released a statement stating that, "Palm takes privacy very seriously, and offers users ways to turn data collecting services on and off." Since they do allow users a way to turn off this constant tracking feature it will be useful for those of use who might have a one of these cell phones to take back our privacy and turn off the GPS feature.

This article is about how to turn it off.

Things You Will Need

Before you get started you need to get your Palm Pre. After getting it you are going to want to turn it on and whatnot so that you can access the menus.

Step 1

Navigate to the Preferences screen. On the Preferences screen you are going to want to open the Location Services section.

Step 2

Now you are going to want to switch Use GPS and Background Data Collection to the off position.*

*This is actually a debated topic right now. Some thought that just turning off the Background Data Collection resulted in an end to your GPS coordinates being sent to Palm, but according to Joey Hess, the heroic crusader who first broke the news about this "feature" on the Palm Pre, this does not stop the device from sending the information.

According to him, the only way to stop it is to turn off GPS altogether - which can be very frustrating for someone who would actually like to use other aspects of the Palm Pre that utilize GPS.

Step 3

If you are little more tech savvy you can go into the command line and disable the cell phone tracking software from sending your location to Palm. Just comment out the 'exec' line in /etc/event.d/uploadd and reboot your phone. After rebooting, you'll notice the contextupload process is still running. This is started by dbus, so disable it by: rm /usr/bin/contextupload.

That should clean up this whole little privacy mess.
In the end, companies that violate their users privacy without asking them about it first are going to get in trouble with the consumers. Palm failed because they started tracking this information without having their users opt in. It is the default setting for their phone. They could have avoided it all by just forcing users to opt into the tracking.

Tips & Warnings

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