Palm Pre Programmed to Spy: Report

A Linux programmer says his device phoned in his whereabouts once a day

By Sajid Farooq
|  Friday, Aug 14, 2009  |  Updated 5:54 AM EDT
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Palm Pre Programmed to Spy: Report

Drew MacKenzie.com

The Palm Pre may look like a good phone but it has been acting naughty lately, according to one programmer.

It's safe to say George Orwell would not have used a Palm Pre if the phone was around in his day.

Word has it the popular smartphone has been having some conversations of its own after its users have hung up. A software developer told The Los Angeles Times he noticed his phone was reporting his location and more to Palm once a day.

"He was checking over computer logs he created to track the phone's system and he discovered that the Pre was uploading its GPS location to Palm Inc. once a day," the paper said. The phone also uploaded the programmer's application usage, including messaging.

Palm didn't deny playing the role of Big Brother but in a statement to the Times the Bay Area company said it appreciated "the trust that users give us with their information, and (we) have no intention to violate that trust."

The company also said its privacy policy "includes very detailed language" about scenarios where Palm might use the customer's data "toward a goal of offering a great user experience."

Joey Hess, the Linux programmer who discovered the quirk, said he wasn't enjoying the experience. Being a programmer and all, he found a way to put a stop the shenanigans.

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