Your Phone APPS Are Tracking You

A surprising number of smartphone APPS ask on installation for permission to access your location.  For APPS such as the Automobile Association or Map based APPS or Local weather or Find a Restaurant this makes sense but many APPS want to track your location for their own benefit – not yours.

Carnegie Mellon University carried out a study on Android phones. The researchers followed 23 Android phone owners for three weeks. In the first week, they were asked to use their apps as they normally would. In the second week, the participants used an app called App Ops to monitor and manage the data those apps were using. In the third week, the research team introduced a “privacy nudge” alert that would ping the participants each time an app requested location data.

The title of the study is: Your Location Has Been Shared 5,398 Times! A Field Study on Mobile App Privacy Nudging.

APPS access your location so they can build a profile on your activities and sell that data to Marketing companies. This is most common with free APPS as the makers need some way to make money and Marketing companies pay for tracking data.

Stop Location Tracking

Try to choose APPS that don’t require permission such as tracking location, but if you do use such APPS then reset permissions so they cannot access your location.

On your Android phone open the Settings app then go to Apps & notifications, choose an app, and select Permissions. On iOS open the Settings app then pick an app to see the permissions it has.

To find out exactly what use is made of your location data means reading the terms and conditions for the APP which almost no-one ever bothers with.

Taking back control

On Android you can disable location tracking on the device as a whole by opening Settings, then tapping Security & location and Location, and then turning tracking off.

On iOS open Settings, then go to Privacy and Location services, and disable the feature.

It’s your phone so you should be in charge.

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