Just a few days back, Me & my friend was planning to go to Chipotle for Lunch. We both love Chipotle. We have been to Chipotle before. Just a few months back & Restaurant was little bit far away. So I asked him to go near by this time. While we were discussing, we both try to search the same Chipotle nearby. Interesting, For me Google shows nearby but for my friend, It shows up 15 KM away. Same google search.
He asked me why does google not show chipotle near by? The interesting thing is google didn’t show Chipotle which is near to us but showing the results where we have been before. It is not about search. It is about your location data. Google knows where your are & Where you have been before?
The truth is Google track your location even if you are offline.
So, What’s the big deal of Location Data?
Well, Applications have all your data. Very very sensitive data your health records, your home address & every details about you. Apps have penetrated successful in life & collected your data that we have come to the situation where apps know more about you than you know about yourself. Experts call it surveillance economy.
But question is Why is location data have more security concern? Isn’t like any other data? Well, Yes it is important because Home address, email etc are one & permanent address & do not change frequently. You can be out of home & close email etc. However, Keep an eye on location data means Someone following you wherever you go & you can’t stop them. Your smartphone is a spy device & you are carrying willingly allowing apps to track you.
Cyber experts always say the privacy isn’t something you own it or controlled it. However, If some app actually needs it then it makes sense. For example, If I want to take a cab. I wish to get my location by Uber or Lyft automatically. However, These apps should not track my location all the time. My location data would be used for commercial as well & This is perfectly alright up-to some extent.
However, torch, Health apps, photo scanner etc trying to collect your location data does not make sense.
Why these apps know about location?
It’s all about showing relevant content & ads to the users. And, One of the reason is that companies like Apple, Facebook, Amazon & Google are trying to reduce the gaps between offline & online world. Let’s if Google knows what kind of stores you have been visiting & same data shared with Amazon. They can target you & show personalized content, offer etc.
If weather apps can share your location data with facebook or other restaurants & facebook can start showing up ads accordingly. In general, Fee apps (Nothing is free as such) are more aggressive in collecting data & selling to companies like Facebook, Amazon etc.
How to put safety guards?
Android & iOS both operating systems supports apps level permission & settings. iOs devices have easy settings where user can modify apps behaviour & allow to collect location data when you are using it.
Google does have guide to change the apps permission.