9 October 2008

Brace yourself for your encounter with Geode.

BBC News Technology has reported that Mozilla, the creator and developer of the Firefox browser has launched Geode, which is a geolocation technology. As most of Firefox`s features, Geode is an add-on feature which users add if they wish to avail themselves of this technology. It is important to point out that Geode is still at a pilot stage and Firefox is at the moment focussing on how users respond to this new technology.

One of the encouraging features of Geode is that it leaves the user firmly in control of what information is transmitted about their location. It remains to be seen how this will be achieved on a technological plane. CyberPanda agrees with the BBC that asking a person whether or not s/he wants to reveal his/her location might not be the best way forward. It would be best to find a way to gain the consent of the individual through a different means (e.g. opt-in options).
On a deeper level, CyberPanda questions the utility of personal geolocation information: it is one thing finding out where Cafe Pasta is found in Soho quite another to find out where John Doe is up. In addition, CyberPanda struggles to see how disclosure of such information (for the individual) can be justified: what greater public interest is being served by this disclosure and is the fact that the user consents to such disclosure, enough to render such level of surveillance legitimate?

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