Do you check to see if your apps are following you around?

❝ 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. It’s a hot market, with sales of location-targeted advertising reaching an estimated $21 billion this year. IBM has gotten into the industry, with its purchase of the Weather Channel’s apps. The social network Foursquare remade itself as a location marketing company…

Please, folks, check your smartphone to see if you can turn off location services altogether. If there are a couple apps you really need, consider limiting location finding to only when the app is in use.

4 thoughts on “Do you check to see if your apps are following you around?

  1. nicknielsensc says:

    Foursquare is on my Garmin. I stopped using its suggestions when its suggestion for the closest UPS Store tried to send me into the middle of a lake.

  2. Antigonish says:

    Was your phone imaged by border agents? They may still have the data according to a new 24-page document released Tuesday by Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/12/was-your-phone-imaged-by-border-agents-they-may-still-have-the-data/ : Last year, over 29,000 travelers had their devices searched at the US border. Federal authorities do not need a warrant to examine a phone or a computer seized at the border. They rely on what’s known as the “border doctrine”—the legal idea that warrants are not required to conduct a search at the border. This legal theory has been generally recognized by courts, even in recent years. According to the Supreme Court, this border search exception to the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution may apply with equal force away from the actual border at locations that are “functional border equivalents.” The Court, however, has never defined a functional border equivalent or set forth the scope of searches it would permit at such a location.

  3. How's your Commoditization? says:

    The IBM-owned Weather Channel app has been transmitting its users’ precise geolocation data to advertisers and other third parties despite telling users that their location data was needed only for providing local weather data, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday by California government officials. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/01/weather-channel-app-helped-advertisers-track-users-movements-lawsuit-says/ The Weather Channel app is used by 45 million people a month and was the most downloaded weather app from 2014 to 2017, according to data cited in the complaint.
    See also “Los Angeles Accuses Weather Channel App of Covertly Mining User Data” (includes copy of complaint) https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/03/technology/weather-channel-app-lawsuit.html

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