This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
Not too long ago I posted about how to avoid being tracked by your smart phone. But couple of small incidents this past week made me revisit this issue.
My cell phone tracked me!
I mentioned I felt I needed to supplement my food storage by picking up at least one item a week for emergencies. While I was at Costco, my phone started beeping at me. Thinking I got a text, I checked the phone and found out my shopping list app was beeping me to alert me to deals available at Costco. Wow, my cell phone actually tracked me to Costco. I should be more careful about this, so I spent a few minutes trying to figure out how that happened.
I realized several of the apps had been updated with the latest version, and new features were introduced. At the same time, some of my phone settings got reset.
I went in and reset my settings to avoid getting tracked. This just goes to show you that even a small thing you may overlooked will cause your privacy to be breached.
Read the Terms and Conditions
The next thing that made me realize the extent of this was when I tried to use a fitness app on my phone and it was no longer allowing me to access it unless I signed in through Facebook or logged in as a member. It also gave notice of new “Terms and Conditions” I did not just click on “agree” but went into the document to read it. The new language clearly states that the app will collect personal information about you, and the company can use it indefinitely. Not only that, it also stated that these terms can be changed by the company at any time. So really, it doesn’t matter what you are agreeing to today, they can go ahead and switch rules on you whenever they feel like it.
I don’t want anyone else knowing what calories I am looking up, and what type of exercise I do everyday; that is no one’s business. So I uninstalled the app and tried to search for one that does not require a log in. Unfortunately, the other ones are inferior to the one I uninstalled so I think I will pass on the fitness app.
I used to think free apps were great, and they may have been when I got them, but now that many have gotten more popular, it seems they are requiring more and more personal information. There are apps for calendars, calorie counters, to do lists, shopping lists, you name it. Although they seem free, these are treasure troves for data mining, as companies are able to collect a whole profile on you:
– when and where you shop
– what you buy
– what you eat
– calories consumed per day
– what type of exercise you do
There are still many worthwhile apps, but you just have to be more selective.
- Read the Terms and Conditions before installing
- Check you settings
- Whenever there is an update, re-read everything and review your settings all over again
- Know what you are agreeing to, simply by using their services. If you don’t like something then opt out.
- Many users don’t mind the tracking, since they do get something in exchange, but at least everyone should be aware of what information is being collected.
I may uninstall even some of the paid apps. It is not worth my privacy so I may be going back to paper lists and notes. A couple of years ago I let my day planner/organizer go, in favor of the portability and convenience of the smart phone. It may have been bulky but at least my old Day Planner never tracked me.
© Apartment Prepper 2013
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