Week 8 – The Social Importance of Place

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This topic contains 17 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  Diarmuid Kiernan 2 years, 6 months ago.

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    Barry Quirke

    How has your own definition of place or decisions around where to go been changed by LB Services and Technology?

    I have to say, hardly at all. Apart from occasionally using my current location in Google Maps to orient myself, I try to avoid using location tracking functionality as much as possible. I simply don’t like the idea of my movements being tracked and available for purposes other than my own. I prefer to explore and appreciate places myself and make choices based on my own preferences or those of my friends when I’m out and about.


    Barry Quirke

    Interestingly, my concerns around privacy and location-based services are reflected in the research conducted by the Pew Internet Group in 2013. Whereas the research team found that 74% of adult smartphone owners in the US have used their phone to get directions, but only 12% use geo-social ‘check-in’ functionality, down from 18% in the previous year.



    To be honest it doesn’t really bother me a whole lot. I dont really care one way or another if a company knows my geographic location at a point of time, if I am close to a bar and I suddenly get a message that they sell a particular brand of beer that I like.

    Whats important to me is how this technology can be used to help people in need, and provide better services for society. If it is being used to sell me beer then fine, I have the choice whether I want to buy the beer or whether I want to turn off my location settings on my smart phone.



    The takeaway point for me from tonights lecture is the importance of awareness and understanding for the user. Most users have a blasé attitude when downloading apps. Maybe it is because they are not completely aware of the privacy trade off. Maybe the awareness exists and they see a greater value in the use of the app and not too concerned with the privacy implications of its use. I believe it is a lack of awareness where the urgency of wanting the use the app is the most important thing and the tick of the “accept T&C” button is not even considered. I believe, in time, the user will become more shrewd when privacy and security becomes more relevant and society will become bored with social media.



    Personally, I have location=off on my mobile phone by default. I switch it on when I need to do something that requires my location. OK, that stinks of paranoia and possibly alludes to be being places I shouldn’t be! 🙂 But, no not, really, I’m just a boring John with a small awareness of “big brother”. I don’t want my location being tracked, my face on cctv, my dna in a database or anything else of that nature. I take Robs point which is roughly “if you’ve nothing to hide why care”, but at the same time, Nah, I’m not having it. We have literally no idea who will get their hands on our data and what they will do with it. Anything from, prospective burglars knowing your home is empty to the state or prospective employee feeding your entire digital footprint (e.g. twitter history, facebook “checked-in” history etc etc) through some ill-tested algorithm that makes an assessment of your personality or you likelihood to succeed or fail at a certain job. Seriously, who knows what’s coming. :-0



    I rarely have the location mode on my phone activated for no other reason than I don’t need it as I’m not one to broadcast my whereabouts every 5 mins to the world. Like wifi and mobile data, I turn them on when I need them. Apart from that, they are off and I’m not running around looking for a power socket to charge my phone every few hours as they also drain my phone battery like crazy.

    However most countries in the world are moving towards being Data States, where every entity, be a store or a public body is collecting data of some type on those who use their services, purchase their products etc.

    All of this data is being centrally stored (Cloud Services) which is controlled by a few entities and over time someone is going to start purchasing this data and compiling it into one big database.

    What it will or can be used for is anyone’s guess, but I can see a company like Google or some new equivalent who instead of indexing the internet, starts indexing people and information associated with them, then selling this information or parts of that information to the highest bidder who can use it for targeted marketing, profiling for insurance or health cover, intelligence gathering or surveillance.

    It all sounds a bit Orwellian I know but I’m sure its already being done on a smaller scale and just hasn’t reached its full potential yet due to the relative infancy of data mining. Here’s an interesting example of how data mining start-ups are marketing their potential to the financial industry.




    LB Services and Technology is part of my everyday life. I see the evidence of it being used more and more for my benefit. I use Google maps for getting directions to new destinations .Real-time information such as estimated time of arrival or traffic updates provides me a peace of mind. I can communicate an educated guess. I like location based recommendation on Eventbrite to keep me informed about what events are happening around me. To help in fraud prevention, Gmail always let me know whenever I sign in from a new location. It creates another level of security for me. While using Dublin bikes, I can quickly find the nearest location where a bike is available or where there is space available for leaving my bike. In case my phone is lost or stolen, Vodafone will use my phone’s location to help me find my phone. I use it to track my online shopping. I like that I have more information as to when the parcel will be delivered to my house.
    Therefore, I do not mind apps using my location. They are providing me with a better service.


    Kevin Mc

    Location Based Services are an extremely valuable and helpful tool in everyday life in this day and age. Everyone uses apps or other services that are improved or based solely on location and times. I know personally I’d be lost without Dublin Bus Real Time app and I can’t imagine anyone who uses public transport doesn’t use a similar service.

    Google maps and any other sat nav tools are also excellent for tourists anywhere in the world. Having spent 2 weeks driving in California I know there is no way I could have done that without a sat nav. These type of services and others make our lives better and that can’t be argued.

    People have genuine reasons to have concerns but if its something that you are concerned about then simply read the terms and conditions before downloading. All apps are different so people have the option to decide whether the app they want is worth the invasion of privacy.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by  Kevin Mc.


    I use location based services almost every day. I find them incredibly useful, however I always turn it off on my phone until I need it. I have a quick switch-app on my phone’s home screen that makes this very easy to do. The main reason I do this is to save battery however, not because I’m worried about my whereabouts being monitored. I am very aware of how location based services work but I am fine with using them.

    The thing that we as a society should give more thought to however is that some members of society – including but not limited to elderly people, who are still getting used to using a mobile phone – may find it very difficult to understand how LBS’s work.

    Perhaps companies that offer LBS’s could pay more attention to these people. An idea would be to offer people an interactive website where one could actively participate in a series of windows to find out how LBS’s work on any given device – whether it be an “iPad 2” or “Samsung Galaxy S mini”.
    It is these people that we need to educate on how their privacy is affected. Then we can all make an informed decision on whether we are comfortable using LBS’s or not.



    There seems to be a large stigma attached to location based services in general.
    Although extremely helpful and informative, they do technically track your location and gather information for this purpose. What other applications or companies do with this data is the real issue. I know of people who have them on all the time and it doesn’t seem to bother them even though they are aware of being tracked.
    Personally i think the benefits of LBS largely out weights the negatives. From providing a better quality of life, crime prevention and adding more efficiency to your life, if you don’t mind someone or something knowing your exact location 24/7 then there really shouldn’t be a stigma attached at all.
    Until people actually truly understand what LBS are, this will remain unchanged.



    I would think that LB Services and Technology have ultimately been of benefit as a whole to people. As a lot of my colleagues have mentioned already the accessibility to real time information, where you stand, at any given time is the real selling point to this area of technology. The amount of information people consume these days is insane, or at least, the want to consume this information is insane!

    How we got by previously without such services is astounding!! 😉

    Ultimately the main concern is the trade off that we discussed in class after last weeks presentation, that seems to cause the major debate. Everybody seems to be in favour of these services but not everybody actually wants their definition of ‘place’ to be redefined due to these services. Your definition of ‘place’, and what you feel to be yours and off limits to others, would greatly sway your opinion toward these LB Services.

    Leading on from what Virginia & Martin have suggested, I too feel education is the key area that should be developed in this sector, for the now and for the future of these services dependants.



    I have to say I’m an avid user of location based services, especially since starting this course, my main reason, timing buses! Finding my nearest Subway deli! Quickest way to Trinity from the Luas! It’s a life saver. I think it depends on what you are up to in your life and how comfortable you are in service providers knowing your location. It is a caveat with any service you use that you will have to part with some information. I think if you are in any way uncomfortable in letting companies know your location then it should be turned off. Although, there could be a lot of benefits to enabling them should you ever require them in an emergency, where is the nearest pharmacy? Or following on from a news article on RTE where there are calls for a national database for the locations of defibrillators, this could lead to a LBS app for the nearest defibrillator. I think the positives of location based services outweigh the negatives.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by  forde1208.

    Peter Madden

    I had a Garmin once. It was crap. We stopped using it the evening it tried to get my wife and I to drive through a farmers back garden somewhere in the wilds of Wexford.
    This was about six or seven years ago now. At the time it occurred to neither of us that the box shouting directions at us was also tracking our whereabouts and logging them… somewhere.

    Fastforward to today. I got lost going to a job interview. I didn’t flinch. One swipe and two button presses was enough to get me home, directions adjusted for traffic on a minute-by-minute basis.

    While I missed the chance to talk to another bemused son of the soil, it’s the first of the two button presses that is telling. I keep my location set to off unless I’m using it. I am conscious of my location data being reported. Of my movements being tracked.

    While this sort of paranoia might have been viewed as grounds for a discrete yet fashionable tinfoil hat a few years ago, it’s not uncommon now. It’s one of the less attractive sacrifices we make for the wild convenience of instant maps, “just-round-the-corner” restaurant reviews and a host of other location-based services.

    In 2011 it was revealed that iPhones were logging location data whether the fruit-based gizmo’s owner wanted it to or not (http://arstechnica.com/apple/2011/04/how-apple-tracks-your-location-without-your-consent-and-why-it-matters/).

    There was understandable uproar at this announcement. Just five years later the number of apps, both for phones and other mobile devices, that require access to some sort of location logging has exploded.

    What people blanch at having taken from them they will, it seems, happily give away for free.



    Personally I use LBS daily, from getting the current location of the next bus, to locating the nearest ATM, the best place for lunch and so on. I don’t mind that my location is tracked. I recently installed the new Moovit app for public transport and during the install I received 2 notifications – 1 was to use the location services while I used the app and the second asked could they use location services while the app was NOT in use.
    I am baffled on that one but I remember from our presentation that there are a number of apps on my phone that have this setting switched on.
    I find LBS very useful on most of the apps that I use – especially Google maps.
    As with every advancement in technology – fear of the unknown will creep in on many. I for one embrace change, especially when I get to benefit even a small bit.


    Bernard McGinley

    I have to agree with Peter, for me the convenience out weighs the risks. I use maps almost always for driving, either for Waze traffic alerts, or in case I take the wrong detour when I get fed up sitting in traffic. My wife and I use the shared location function in iOS constantly to see if the other person is already in the car before calling, or to see when they’re almost home and stick the kettle on. At the same time, I do keep an eye on which apps are looking for access to my location, and do make an effort to curate this, though more for battery life than privacy.

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