For sharing and consuming information, nothing beats the convenience of having a smartphone in your pocket. You can read a restaurant review, make a reservation, send an invitation to your friends and get directions all within minutes. But, for every move you make, there’s more going on behind the scenes than you may realize.
Your smartphone and mobile service provider are constantly collecting information about your whereabouts and behavior. Information that advertisers can use to send you offers from the businesses around you. Or that law enforcement can use to establish your location at the scene of a crime.
You may think your boss could never know you prefer taking the long way back to the office after a meeting. But, according to the website PrivacyRights.org, it’s legal for your employer to track your whereabouts during work hours through the GPS on your company-issued phone.
Location tracking raises numerous questions about privacy. Who can access this goldmine of information about you? How long is it stored? The concern for your identity is clear. The more information that is available about you, the easier it is to steal your identity.
This concern likely won’t stop you from using your smartphone, so instead think about how you use it.
- Voluntarily post your whereabouts on websites such as Twitter and Facebook without using privacy settings to limit who can view the information
- Allow friends to track you through websites such as Google Latitude Opt in for location-based advertising
- Opt in for location-based advertising
- Turn off location sharing capabilities on social networking sites
- Look into disabling “geotags,” which embed location information in photos taken on your smartphone
- Use the ProtectMyID iPhone App to view your Alerts on the go
The way we use smartphones and the misuse of the information they collect is still evolving. Make sure you consider the consequences of purposefully sharing too much.