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Monday, March 10, 2014

PRIVACY: Does Your Smartphone Spy On You?

What Can You Do About it?
For every second of every day, someone is tracking your every move, and you probably don’t even realize it. 

People think no one’s watching, that they’re on their own. But as long as their smartphones are on and in their pocket, they’re never quite alone.

Buried in your iPhone settings is a detailed history of where you’ve been, how often you’ve been there and it’s time-stamped down to the minute you were there.

And on a Droid, it’s even more detailed. It’s all plotted on Google Maps. GPS and Wi-Fi networks pin-point a person’s every move from home to work and back. Smartphones send all that information back to tech companies.

“Companies have a vested interested in figuring out where you are and where you’re going,” said Mary Dickerson. Dickerson heads the IT Department at the University of Houston. She says all that private information helps companies make money, but there’s no 100 percent guarantee Apple and Google can keep it safe.

“There’s always a risk the question is, is it a significant risk?” said Dickerson.

There are things people can do to reduce the risk. Taking back privacy is really only a few swipes away. On a droid, just go to ‘Settings’, select ‘Location Services’ and uncheck ‘GPS and Wi-Fi.’

On an iPhone, it’s a bit more complicated. Go to ‘Settings’, click ‘Privacy’, then select ‘Location Services’, scroll down to ‘System Services’, that’s where you find ‘Frequent Locations’. Just turn that feature off.