Some reporter or another discovered last week that consumer-device manufacturer Movabla’s immensely popular and seductively curved moPhone collects user-location data in an unencrypted text file titled “not_user_data_ignore_this.txt.”
The file contains a complete log of the user’s location, velocity and distance from the nearest Movabla Store. Users of the moPhone were outraged nearly to the point of not carrying the things every damn where. Congress demanded an explanation, and use of ALL-CAPS on Twitter rose 23 percent.
In response, Movabla CEO Paul Esthers released the following Q&A before descending back into his lair beneath Mount Shasta.
Q: Why is Movabla tracking my location?
A: Movabla is not tracking, never has tracked, and never will track your location. We are simply tracking your phone’s location. While in some cases there may be a correlation between your location and your moPhone’s location, it’s ridiculous to conflate the two. For all we know, you left your phone in a taxi, gave it to a stranger to borrow for a while, or threw it into the window of a Nevada brothel, waited two hours, then went in to fetch it.
Q: Why is Movabla tracking my phone’s location, then?
A: Because every moPhone is like a child to us. We want to keep in touch, know how it’s doing and see if there’s anything it needs, like maybe advertisements for antibiotics. We’re a bunch of softies over here, and we’d never want to lose touch with any of our 50 million offspring.
Q: Why is everyone so concerned about this?
A: Ignorance. Ignorance and stupidity. Users are easily startled and confused, like cockatiels with credit cards. We blame ourselves; we expected too much of our customers. We should have required users to demonstrate that they can recognize and name simple shapes and colors before selling them phones. There’s nothing to be done about it now, though. Our customers are a bunch of idiots who get excited over nothing, and we’ll have to live with that.
Q: Why does my phone track its location even if I check “Do not track this phone’s location” in the system settings?
A: That is a bug. That option should read, “Check this box if you like peppermint candies.” We’re not sure how that slipped past us.
Q: Will you be making any changes to your data-tracking code?
A: Absolutely. We deeply regret the oversight that resulted in this terrible, terrible situation. In the future, we will be encrypting the information so that nosy Nellies won’t be able to tell what the hell we’re tracking.
Q: Can this data be used to locate me or my loved ones?
A: Not at all. The data is anonymized when it is sent to our servers in the Cayman Islands. For instance, if you are George Danby of Toledo, Ohio, you will be identified only as Florge Flanby of Floledo, Flohio.
Q: What if my name really is Florge Flanby?
A: Then what your phone may or may not track is the least of your problems.
Q: What other private information are you collecting?
A: If we’re collecting it, it’s not exactly private, is it? (See “Customers, stupidity of.”)
Q: Is the information collected ever shared with third parties?
A: Never. Republicans and Democrats only.
Q: Does Movabla care about the privacy and security of its customers?