Would you like it if you knew the manufacturer of your phone was tracking your location every day to give you a “great user experience”? I personally wouldn’t buy a phone that does this, but this is exactly what Palm’s Pre is designed to do. Faced with complaints about this feature, the best explanation Palm has been able to offer so far is that this “feature” is built into the phone by design:

Writes Palm, “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.”

Palm Pre_FrontClosed-CardViewGoogleMaps

I don’t think their privacy policy is clear on this issue; there is exactly one sentence in which the word “location” is found:

When you use location based services, we will collect, transmit, maintain, process, and use your location and usage data (including both real time geographic information and information that can be used to approximate location) in order to provide location based and related services, and to enhance your device experience.

I interpreted this as saying the information will be sent when you actually use a location-based service. Instead, Joey Hess sees his Pre sending the location information exactly once every 24 hours, and it includes information about which applications he is using and for how long. I’m sure this can somehow be necessary to “enhance your device experience”, but I’d certainly like to know whether or not my phone sends this info before I buy one. IMHO, Palm will either need to provide a better explanation of this “feature” or provide a way to disable it altogether.