My Smartphone Thinks I Drive To The KFC Restaurant Every Morning, Should I Be Concerned? 

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26 minutes to KFC ?!??
There’s no doubt that smartphones have revolutionised the way we work, play, communicate with others etc but sometimes I do wonder if it’s all a bit too much…
I have a map app on my phone (nothing new there, so do most smartphone users) and most of the time I find it really useful as it can tell me where I am if I’m a bit lost and, most importantly, where I’ve parked my car!  But sometimes its knowledge of my travel habits concerns me.

I recently became aware that my phone also knows quite a lot about me, where I travel to and from, at what time and interestingly on which days.

My phone is connected to my car stereo via Bluetooth technology which means I can use the phone completely hands free whilst in the car.  #noexcuses for handling the phone as I can do everything on voice commands “Siri, text Mum” “What do you want to say?” “ Hi Mum, I’m coming to visit tomorrow about 6pm” “Your message says Hi Mum, I’m coming to visit tomorrow about 6pm. Ready to send?” “Yes”, “Message sent”. Easy peasy and as squeezy as a lemon! smiley

Because it’s connected to the car stereo, my phone ‘knows’ that I’m in the car and driving. This means that I’m unable to use any of the touch screen features and it also stops any incoming calls or text messages from distracting me while I’m on the move. 

So every weekday morning, I get into the car, the phone connects to the stereo automatically and then my map app alerts me to the fact that it’s ‘25 minutes to KFC, traffic is light’…. “So what’s wrong with that?” I hear you ask. “That’s very useful information...!”

The problem I have is that I’m not actually going to the KFC restaurant! It just happens that the restaurant is in the Leisure Park and backs onto the office car park at Michael Faraday House, which is where I park most mornings. So why does it think I’m there and not in the IET car park? frown

Now they say that ‘he who rules the data, rules the world’ so just what are they doing with this data they’re collecting about me? Could I find that insurance companies will start considering me a ‘high risk’ because they think I eat KFC every day???? Could this affect my future healthcare plan? Will KFC give me some freebies because I’m allegedly such a good customer?  Or do they think I work there and some data controller out there is making assumptions on my available income, my level of education or career prospects?!?! surprise

On Saturdays I usually travel up to a friend’s motorcycle workshop and yes, when I get into my car on Saturday morning it tells me how long it will take to get to his workshop, and also how long it takes to get to the local supermarket when I leave there too! So it’s also gathering data on my weekend activities, where I like to food shop and probably making assumptions that I enjoy dangerous sporting activities like motorcycles… 

It still hasn’t worked out that I go swimming at a local pool a couple of times a week though ( I think it’s because it’s not on regular days) but I don’t think it will be long! 

Maybe they’ll think I’m trying to balance out all that KFC I’m supposed to have been eating… laugh
 
141fd6c58663c06b570e67767c6e8f1f-huge-liA self confessed Geek and a HUGE James Bond fan, Lisa is the Online Community Manager for the IET's Engineering Communities online community platform. In her spare time she can usually be found wondering if she needs to make herself a tin foil hat...  

Posted by Lisa Miles on Aug 21, 2018 9:23 AM Europe/London

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"I am, and always will be, comfortable with the fact that I'm just a little bit 'odd'..." smiley


Hi there! I'm Lisa and I'm the Online Community Manager at the IET.  Any opinions expressed are mine alone and do not represent the official views of the Institution.

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