Today’s New York Times has a thought-provoking piece on cellphones–That’s No Phone. That’s My Tracker–that’s worth five minutes of your time.

The Take Away: Sometimes the name for a thing can cloak a lot of complexity. Not suggesting a conspiracy here–but cellphones do track your position, your spending, who you call and probably a hundred other things. And, be honest, we all don’t read the Terms of Service for all the apps we’ve downloaded.

So, what is my iPhone?

Best I can surmise is that it’s like those black boxes/flight recorders that are bolted in plane cockpits that record everything. The difference–and it’s a huge one–is that we don’t own the data like the airlines own the data. They own the planes–they deserve the data. But who owns all that data that’s being emitted from my phone every second if not millisecond? It’s most likely no single entity–it’s a bunch of disparate entities. It’s still disconcerting.

But, wait. Does it matter?

Don’t I like the convenience, the offers (savings?), the entertainment, the… dare I say it… distraction? Besides, isn’t our freedom locked in sufficiently to let me kind of ignore this stuff?


In the past, do you remember how some families chose not to be listed in the phone book?

That kind of anonymity seems almost antediluvian.

I actually wrote this post so I could use that word 🙂