How many times a day do applications on your phone ask to be allowed to access your location. Do you leave your location GPS on all the time? Do you know how to turn it off?
If you’re not concerned with how companies like Google having access to your location, consider that with that information they can track your every move and know where you, or at least your phone is, at any given moment.
Why does it matter?
Having a GPS system embedded into phones is something that we’ve grown accustomed to and even rely on. In an unfamiliar location there is peace of mind knowing that we can always look up directions if we get lost somewhere along the way.
Leaving location services on all the time however can make you more open to risks. Just think, geolocation data can reveal intimate details about people’s lives; everywhere that you visit with your phone becomes accessible and companies can sell this data revealing information about consumers’ religious affiliations, medical conditions, and more. Geotagging photos and selfies may seem like an easy way to let friends know where you are, but for victims of online harassment or stalking, you are also putting yourself and anyone else in a photo with you at risk.
What can I do?
As a first step, it’s recommended that you disable location services on your phone. Here are step-by-step guides on how to do this for iOS or Android phones. When specific apps ask for location access think critically about why they app need to know your location? If you’re lost and pulling up a map on your phone or trying to figure out if it’s going to rain that day, letting your phone access your location for GPS accuracy makes sense. If you can’t find a good reason for why an application would need access to your location then maybe think twice before allowing it to do so.