Smartphones Track Your Every Move
Smartphones are central in many of our lives. Not only are they glued to our hips for communication, but they also provide entertainment, appointment reminders, personal data and more. Without much consideration, we tell our smartphones everything. However, they can gather our information whether we tell them to or not.
Some investigative reporting has shown that smartphones are aware of our every move, anywhere and any time of day. And this info can leak out to companies that want our data to better target advertising.
There are four essential things to understand about these technologies. This includes how they work to gather our information, how they raise privacy concerns, and who is getting the data, .
Most apps release personal data.
University of California, Berkeley performed a study and found that 7 out of 10 apps share your data with companies that want to track users. Some of this data includes location and which apps the user uses in general and most often.
Fifteen percent of the apps that this study covered sent the data they found to five or more tracking websites. Also, 1 in 4 of these trackers received unique, sensitive information like a phone number.
You can turn off tracking, but it doesn’t always work.
Even if you tell your smartphone and apps not to track, you can still be vulnerable. Guevara Noubir, a Northeastern University computer scientist, discovered that regardless of your privacy settings, “a phone can listen in on a user’s finger typing to discover a secret password.” He also concluded that by carrying your phone in your pocket, it could tell data companies where you are and where you’re going.
Companies make money off of your personal profile.
All of the information that you can find on your profiles, as broad as who you are, where you are and what you’re doing, gets put into an enormously detailed digital profile, which is turned into money.
Companies like Facebook can charge premium rates to advertisers that want to target you simply “by combining online and offline data.”
There’s little to no regulation against data privacy in the US.
This news may be a little disheartening. Currently the US has few regulations to assure that digital apps and services protect people’s privacy. European rules around privacy issues are more comprehensive.