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Managing Spooky Location Settings

Published: 10/31/2018

Managing Spooky Location Settings

You rush home from work, deposit your paycheck while you warm up the mac and cheese for a quick dinner and throw the kiddos into their costumes. Then you grab your smartphone to see the notification telling you to leave now to make it to the trick or treat trail event that starts in 10 minutes.

As you rush out the door you make the kiddos stop for the obligatory Halloween photo and you quickly post to Facebook (while your spouse is driving of course). Then you can't remember the fastest route to get to the trail so you google the address.

Whew! You have arrived and the kids are filling their bags as fast as possible and even saying thank you after getting their treats so kudos to you parents!

With the day to day life happening it is so easy for us to forget about the security on our mobile phones. While it can be scary to think about there are things you can do right away to monitor those levels of protection.

Think about your Halloween night. Your location is probably being tracked at the expense of your privacy (and battery life). For you, it's about convenience, but for your carrier, phone and application providers, it's about marketing profiles. Without taking certain steps, the information on where you are and where you have been is being shared with them.

So what can I do?

The best thing you can do is be aware of Location-Based Services (LBS) and enable the service for your benefit – not the carriers, application vendors and phone providers. The more information organizations can obtain about you, the more focused their marketing and advertising can be. Knowing your location gives them personal insights into your daily routines or can alert them to deliver a specific ad based on where you are at that time.

For some this type of tracking isn't an issue, for others it is. The key is understanding how LBS can impact your privacy. Every mobile platform and operating system has LBS as a service. Many default to enabling it for all apps that want to know your location. This default allows you to be served location-based advertisements by apps and carriers, but more importantly, it opens the door for behavior modeling.

Be Selective with Location Settings

Be selective about which applications you allow to use LBS – Maps, yes; Facebook, maybe; Find your phone, yes; Yelp, possibly; Angry Birds – No! Outside of the obvious location-based applications, I would turn it off.

When an application prompts to use your location information, think about it before saying "Yes." A good rule of thumb: If it won't help you find, just decline. If you do allow your location information to be shared with an app, remember to go back and turn it off. Your privacy and battery life will thank you.

Take Steps Today

You and the kiddos are back home, the candy has been checked, and pajamas put on. While your spouse puts the kids to bed you start to wondering again about the location settings and all the posting to all those social media sites tonight. Take the next step to your mobile security, crawl up on the couch and check out more tips here.