Earlier this year, Foursquare disclosed its big plans to split into two apps – one will focus purely for discovering places while the other for finding what their friends are up to. Now, in its revamped mobile app, one may find a really creepy feature. It is believed to track users even when they are not using the app.
A report by The Wall Street Journal brings to light Foursquare permissions that are extremely intrusive. The new update now allows Foursquare to keep a track of your whereabouts as soon as you install it. As long as your phone is running, the device will track your movements.
Earlier, Foursquare required users to give its app the necessary permission to turn on location-tracking, but now users need to change a setting within the app if they don’t wish to be tracked.
Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley explains to ‘The Journal’ that the reason for doing so is analysing trends and finding what’s popular. According to Foursquare, “Your real-time location is not shared on the Foursquare app. If you write a tip, like or otherwise interact with a place, users may infer that you have been to that location. Some content, like tips, are time stamped and other users could use that information to infer when you were at a place even though tips can be posted when you aren’t at the place you are leaving a tip about.”
Crowley further added, “It’s been our philosophy since we started that as long as we are recycling the data back to people, people will be interested in using the services. You can’t just collect a lot of information off people and not doing anything with it. It’s not a fair trade.”
However, Foursquare hasn’t made it explicitly clear that it will be tracking your data even when not in use. It needs to educate users about the change because constant location tracking is something that needs the user’s affirmation. According to the report, Justin Brookman, director of the Center for Democracy & Technology’s Project on Consumer Privacy believes, “Persistent location tracking is the sort of thing that you should have to affirmatively decide to turn on, and if it’s not evident from the nature of the app, I think they have an obligation to clearly message to you that it will be constantly collecting location information in the background.”
What do you think about this new Foursquare change. Would you liked to be tracked all the time?