We take our smartphones everywhere: to the toilet, to the gym and even to bed. You could say that our smartphones know us pretty well.
They have plenty of data on our habits and our relationships, but how well is that data protected?
As it turns out, you aren’t the only one with access to your personal information. In fact, your mobile phone acts a lot like a spy who knows exactly what you’re doing, where you’re doing it, who you’re doing it with, not to mention for how long and how often. For example, Google has developed technology that enables it to access calls made on your Android device, and use your conversation and the sounds around you to create targeted ads.
Say you made a call while Usher was playing in the background; next time you googled something, an ad about his next concert might pop up. We’re mostly oblivious to all this data-gathering. A study done by Carnegie Mellon’s Human-Computer Interaction Institute revealed that only five percent of Angry Birds’ users knew that the app collects location data, which it then sells to advertisement companies.
These companies then use this information as a forecasting tool to determine your future behavior and, thus, your purchases. In fact, according to a McAfee report, 82 percent of all Android apps check your online activities and 80 percent collect your location data without your permission.
Should you care about location privacy? Who cares about your whereabouts anyway? In 2012 a Russian company launched an app called Girls Around Me that provided users with an interactive map displaying Facebook profile pictures, status updates, and check-ins of the women in their proximity. The app was even approved by the Google Play and Apple App Stores! Is this social media or stalking?
Whatever it is, it should be enough to make you think twice before skipping through the Terms of Service Agreement for your next app purchase.