If you still use Trapster, you may want to stop. Immediately. Not only does Trapster track where you drive, it also follows you inside buildings and anywhere else that you happen to go. Inside or outside of vehicle, Trapster is following you. This in and of itself is not a huge deal. Tons of apps from Google and other companies track us every day. The problem is that Trapster logs your path on a satellite map, tracing your travels with a blue line. This trail is then made publicly available to anyone who knows your username and wants to follow you around.
Other apps like Waze and Google Maps can find your location and definitely follow you. They need to in order to perform their intended functions. Trapster does the same thing, but the Nokia-owned app adds a blue line to show your travel history and then makes that info available for two hours. We may have differing opinions about location-based apps, but all of us can agree that this is creepy. See this screenshot from Scobleizer showing a Trapster users path, walking around inside a store.
I’m sure that Nokia is not intending to be creepy; it’s simply that they are being negligent with your data. Trapster works much like Waze in that it allows users to log speed traps where cops are hiding along the routes that they travel. Where Trapster drops the ball is in protecting its user’s data. Waze doesn’t show your real-time movements on a map. Waze also doesn’t show you at home or at work. This information is obviously stored on the company’s servers, but it’s not made publicly available for other Waze users. Trapster lets you see exactly where its users are, in real-time. And because there are so few current Trapster users, it’s really easy to find individual users and stalk them. It’s also not difficult to match up a user’s other personal information with their username and travel paths, all within the Trapster app.
This is a case of negligent use of personal data. As companies continue to have more and more access to our private information, it’s on us to police that information and how companies use it. Nokia can fix this very easily, but it’s past the point where I could ever trust them with my data again.