Protect Your Privacy! What You Should Know About Location-Based Apps
Every day, millions of people are downloading apps onto their phone, tablet, and other mobile devices. In fact, when we break down the numbers, an average of 792 apps are downloaded every second! And a good number of these are now including GPS and location-based features. So with all this carefree downloading, how do you know your privacy is protected?
“It’s pretty easy to download a new app to your phone and get started, without diving deep into the settings,” says Syracuse digital media director Kate Brodock. “Keep in mind that each app comes equipped with preloaded settings based on what the company would like to see in terms of behavior and data usage, and not necessarily what you might like.” For most location-based apps, determining your exact location is taken very seriously, whether that be inside your place of work or even your private residence. And if you haven’t taken time to research (or -- admit it -- even glance at) preloaded app settings, this data may be used automatically when the app is being utilized.
Some apps are even going so far as to include automatic check-in’s, which often need to be switched OFF through your smartphone ("general settings” → “location services”) rather than through the app directly. Tricky, eh? A good example of the automatic check-in feature is the Facebook app -- one of the most popular for smartphone users. Geo-tagging on your posts are subtle when the setting is turned on, and you may not even realized you’ve posted your exact location with a status update, as it appears in faint gray text at the bottom left.
If online privacy is a concern, don’t overlook location-based apps to get a feel for exactly what is being tracked.
Find out more about location-based apps and privacy here, and check out related articles below:Google is Getting Into the Check-in Business "Put Down Your Phone!"