Mon
Dec 10 2018
07:22 am

Do you care?

From a New York Times report, in about four months of data they found a woman's location was tracked 8,600 times, on average, once every 21 minutes. The apps tracked her to work, to the doctor's office (and how long she was there), to the gym, to Weight Watchers, while walking her dog, to her ex-boyfriend's home, to name a few locations.

"At least 75 companies receive anonymous, precise location data from apps whose users enable location services to get local news and weather or other information, The Times found. Several of those businesses claim to track up to 200 million mobile devices in the United States — about half those in use last year. The database reviewed by The Times — a sample of information gathered in 2017 and held by one company — reveals people’s travels in startling detail, accurate to within a few yards and in some cases updated more than 14,000 times a day."

"These companies sell, use or analyze the data to cater to advertisers, retail outlets and even hedge funds seeking insights into consumer behavior. "

“We look to understand who a person is, based on where they’ve been and where they’re going, in order to influence what they’re going to do next,” Ms. Greenstein [an executive at the location company GroundTruth] said.

“The book ‘1984,’ we’re kind of living it in a lot of ways,” said Bill Kakis, a managing partner at Tell All [Digital, a Long Island advertising firm that is a client of a location company]."

"More than 1,000 popular apps contain location-sharing code from such companies, according to 2018 data from MightySignal, a mobile analysis firm. Google’s Android system was found to have about 1,200 apps with such code, compared with about 200 on Apple’s iOS."

Are we letting too much intrusion into our private lives? All those discount/loyalty cards, Amazon's facial recognition technology, and more.

I always say no when an app requests my location. However, if I use my Android phone GPS feature it pretty much has to know my location. Also, if I do a Google search for a particular store "near me", then obviously Google has to know my location. Many times I try to do searches by city and not "near me". That's a little hard when your in a bigger city.

The New York Times has another article on "How to Stop Apps From Tracking Your Location" for both Android and iOS.

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Browsers

If you allow location access for web browsers (e.g., Google Chrome, Apple Safari), every website you look at in that browser will be able to access your location. It’s best to lock that one down. Your call, though.

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