Pre Phones Home, Palm Responds ➝

Debian Developer Joey Hess discovered that the Palm Pre sends your location, along with a list of the applications you use, and how long you have used them back to Palm once a day.

This finding is sure to upset Palm Pre users but later on in the day Palm issued a statement trying to calm the tempers regarding this privacy concern.

Palm takes privacy very seriously, and offers users ways to turn data collecting services on and off. Our privacy policy is like many policies in the industry and includes very detailed language about potential scenarios in which we might use a customer’s information, all toward a goal of offering a great user experience. For instance, when location based services are used, we collect their information to give them relevant local results in Google Maps. We appreciate the trust that users give us with their information, and have no intention to violate that trust.

This doesn’t look good for Palm and I wouldn’t be surprised if this “feature” disappeared in the next update to WebOS, or at least made it easier to disable.

Update 8/13/09: Betanews reports on how exactly a user would go about turning this data collection off:

Under Location Services, a user needs only to switch Background Data Collection to the “off” position and all this controversial location and app data will kept private.