HomeOpinionHere Are The Dos And Don’ts Of Location Sharing

Here Are The Dos And Don’ts Of Location Sharing

You can see which apps use your location data by going into your smartphone's settings and navigating to the location sharing tab, which is normally found in the privacy and security settings of most smartphones.

Here Are The Dos And Don’ts Of Location Sharing - SurgeZirc SA
Here Are The Dos And Don’ts Of Location Sharing.

It’s tempting to say “yes” when an app or website requests your location data just to get past the pop-up and back to scrolling, but it’s important to consider who you share it with and why. It’s frequently more information than applications and websites truly need to know about you.

Companies, like other types of personal information, present location data as a trade-off: consumers willingly expose their location, usually for a more convenient user experience; companies, in turn, gather critical intel about customers and, more often than not, resell that data to third-parties for additional profit.

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According to Cooper Quintin, a security researcher at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, those third parties can include data brokers and advertisers, as well as law enforcement, bounty hunters, journalists, and anybody else with the money to buy this information.

It’s one of the reasons we believe our devices “hear” us – they probably don’t hear you telling a friend that you’ve been desiring fast food, but they know there’s a McDonald’s nearby and will serve up an advertisement for its french fries.

Because there are currently no federal laws or regulations in place to completely secure consumer information, it is up to individual users to decide how that information should be disseminated. Even if you believe you have nothing to hide, don’t accept sharing location data when installing new apps.

“It’s better just not to generate it in the first place,” Quintin said.

Is it ever OK to share this sensitive information with a company? According to Megan Iorio, senior lawyer and amicus director at the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a reasonable rule of thumb is to avoid providing location information unless the programme requires it to function.

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A map app may require it to provide real-time directions; food delivery applications may be able to get by with just an address. Websites may request location rights to allow convenience features like weather services, but a zip code will yield the same results at a considerably lesser risk.

Even with the caveat that sharing location data is sometimes inevitable, Iorio warns that giving apps or sites unrestricted access is never a good idea.

“If you wind up needing location services, then you’ll figure that out after using the app, but maybe the best strategy is to just tell everybody no until you actually realize that you need it,” Iorio said.

It’s also a good idea to withdraw location rights for any apps or websites that you no longer use or may have enabled inadvertently in the past.

You can see which apps use your location data by going into your smartphone’s settings and navigating to the location sharing tab, which is normally found in the privacy and security settings of most smartphones.

This will list all of the apps that have access to your location data and give you the choice to turn it on or off.

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Apple, Samsung, Google, and other companies all have detailed instructions on their websites. Major browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, Edge, and Safari also provide detailed instructions for disabling location sharing.

In general, avoid selecting “always allow” or similarly phrased options in-browser; instead, wait for the pop-up seeking permission and, if necessary, give location data on a case-by-case basis.

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Elize Coetzee for SurgeZirc SA
Elize Coetzee for SurgeZirc SAhttps://new.surgezirc.co.za
Elize Coetzee, a seasoned journalist, is the driving force behind SurgeZirc SA’s world news and world politics coverage. With an unwavering commitment to truth, Elize delves into global affairs, providing live updates, in-depth investigations, and thought-provoking analysis. Whether it’s geopolitical tensions, international diplomacy, or breaking stories, Elize’s incisive reporting keeps readers informed and engaged.
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