We here at Calendar42 take your privacy seriously. We recently enabled the location tracking feature in our application. The feature was designed with your privacy concerns at the top of our priority. Even though we are well aware of the capabilities and features of the location tracking features that come with modern smartphones and computers, we understand that there is much that remains unclear to an average user. This page will first start out with a little bit of background on what your devices are capable of by themselves. In the last section we go over which of these features we use in our application.
Modern devices and their capabilities
The location feature exists in your phone as well as your computers browser. When you login to certain sites from your computer, your browser will alert you that the website is requesting access to your location. You can choose between yes and no. In your phone certain applications will inform you that that they require location access to work. This accessing of location data is not done directly by the applications themselves. The devices concerned have an operating system which has access to the hardware inside the devices. It is only the operating systems like iOS and Android (Chrome and Safari for browsers) that can control when and how the location information is collected. Before we address the when and the how it must be pointed out that people who make the aforementioned pieces of software are always striving towards making your devices more secure. Without your express permission there is little possibility of any un authorized access to your location information.
Collect Location Information
So, when does your device collect your location information? Well firstly, only if the location feature in the settings is turned on. But how often does it collect the location data? Most phones come with accelerometers that can detect your motion (i.e. detect if the device is moving about or is static: like on a table). While the specifics are not clear, we can tell that the location data is collected at longer intervals when the device is at one place than when you are moving about. Hence, when you are in a car you can see the arrow on the map moving at regular short intervals according to where you are. This is advantageous when you wish to reach your destination in unfamiliar locations. This is made possible by a large number of points being plotted by the device to the map.
So, how does this small little device know where you are? If you have been using location capable devices for a while, you may have noticed how the accuracy varies from device to device and has consistently gotten more accurate over the years. It is not that the same technology has become better, rather more and more pieces of hardware have been packed into our devices to make them more and more powerful. Today, in 2014 there are (in order of increasing accuracy) cellular tower based location, SSID name, IP address, 3G, 4G, GPS technologies. All these technologies are available inside an average device. To find out more about them, a brief search on the web will deliver a wealth of information. So, when Calendar42 or any application requests your location, the operating system chooses from all the resources at its disposal and presents the application with a location.
So what happens when your device can collect points but cannot transmit the data? Can that happen at all? Yes, if you are traveling and you don’t have 3G or any similar data connection. There is little chance of wi-fi being available while traveling as well. In such cases, if you keep the GPS on, the Calendar42 application will collect collect data points along with time-stamps, locally in the device itself. The application then stores the points in a queue and waits for a working internet connection to upload the data. It is perhaps useful to expand a little on the differences between iOS and Android. In Android the Calendar42 application keeps location data safe such that even if your device accidentally turns off due to low battery or a crash, the data is accessible to Calendar42 upon startup. In case of iOS the queue is lost in case there is a reboot for any reason. Currently we are working to extend the stored queueing functionality (in absence of internet connectivity) in iOS as well.
It is important to note that Calendar42 does NOT request your device to manipulate how frequently points are to be collected. We do not ask which technology was used to collect the location data either. This keeps your devices safe from any possible security leaks.
The location tracking we do use, allows for automatic check-in on events for premium users only. We are striving towards making this service available for normal users as well. But for now we process your location data only if you are a premium user. In our effort to make the application help you weave around your busy days, we understood that always checking-in to planned events can be tiresome. You should spend less time filling out paperwork, submitting travel receipts and other such mundane activities. Thus the location tracking feature was designed. But, that leaves us with little or no use of points between events. Points that are in between your event locations are completely useless even during the journey. As Julian Assange said, “The best way to keep a secret is to not have one”. We believe the same and hence safely destroy all location data once we have no use for it. In fact we store a maximum of one location point per premium user in our servers. That one location is always the latest. As soon as a new location data is received, we dispose off the old location data immediately. We hope that this has been helpful in answering any concerns you may have had regarding the location tracking feature. If you have questions, please contact us and we will get back to you at the earliest.
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