There’s an app for everything, and one of the most highly recommended “lost keys” apps comes in the form of a gadget called ‘Tile’ which you can link to an account and your phone, thread the tracker onto your keys and use your phone to find them when they go missing. You can also use it in reverse – so use the tracker on your keys to find your phone. Of course, Tile isn’t the only programme with tracking technology for finding lost items, but it’s the one that’s caught the eye of many.
Tracking to find your keys sounds great, right? Well, maybe, but maybe not.
Aside from the fact that batteries can run out of power, and range can be limited, there’s the issue of privacy – a concern which has been growing for many, as technology advances and companies are using data in more and more ways. Once it was just your I.P. address that companies could use to tailor adverts to you, increasingly the more advanced internet analytics means that adverts can be targeted at you using such detailed information as which videos you paused on while browsing social media feeds.
With lost keys apps some customers have noted that the company responsible for the technology has openly stated that they can and will use the data. In the Terms of Service and Privacy Statements (i.e. the small print which we should all read, but which very few of us actually do because there’s just so much of it!) some apps tell you that the company can and will use the demographic information it collects on you in any way it wants, including sharing it with partners. Also that anything which you upload to their cloud services belongs to them and you are giving them exclusive rights to use and distribute that material in any way they choose without compensating you.
The apps are no doubt useful. If you often lose your keys, having a handy app that will save you hours of searching for them could be ideal, even with the privacy concerns. The important thing is to be aware that these apps do come with privacy issues, only use them if you’re happy to make the privacy vs. convenience compromise.