"We should treat personal electronic data with the same care and respect as weapons-grade plutonium-it is dangerous, long-lasting and once it has leaked there's no getting it back." -Cory Doctorow, Blogger and Activist
Do you know the apps that are tracking your location on your mobile device right now? Chances are the answer to this question is almost every single app on your phone. Why do they need your location? Does the ESPN app really need your location at all times? Or Facebook? Or is it really necessary that Google Map accesses your microphone? You might think to yourself, "so? why does it matter if they have access to my location/microphone? I'm not doing anything bad and they probably aren't listening." Personal privacy is why you should care. Who has access to all of this location tracking information and voice recording capability? More importantly, who could get access to it if they wanted it?
In Quebec in 2013, 6 reporters' every move and phone call was tracked exactly in this way. The Quebec Provincial Police gained access to their cell phones location and microphone services and tracked their location and calls for months, all without their knowledge. What if this was you? Would you feel completely and utterly violated? Imagine someone was tracking your every move for the last year...Have you gone anywhere in the last year that people wouldn't be too happy if they found out about? Or took/made a private phone call that would be extremely embarrassing/detrimental to you if made public? Chances are everyone answered yes to both of these questions. This is why you should care about your location and microphone settings on your cell phone. You have absolutely no idea who is tracking you or listening to you. Blindly agreeing to let an app or service access your location and microphone settings is a horrible idea.
Luckily, we can fix this problem. See the "Task of the Day" below and follow the steps to take back your location and microphone privacy.
Task of the day: See what apps on your phone are tracking your location and ask yourself, do they really need my location at all times? And more importantly, who can see this information...?
On iPhones:Click the settings icon. Once inside click privacy and then click location settings. This will show you all the apps that have permission to access your location and you can revoke access by clicking the switch next to the app. If you navigate back out to the privacy screen you can see all of the other categories you can give apps permission to access...and should look into revoking.
On Androids:Go into settings. Then into apps. Then click the gear icon and you come to the app permissions page, where you can look at all the apps that are tracking your location, have access to your microphone, etc. and turn them off if they are not needed or not trusted.
Thank you for joining us today! Please be sure to come back Friday at 6:00pm EST for another practical strategy to take back your privacy.
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