Most people have become accustomed to the idea that the more technology we bring into our lives, the more of our privacy we give up. Smartphones are probably the biggest culprit in this phenomenon, since they have become so ubiquitous and in nearly constant use throughout our daily lives. But your phone may be tracking you even more than you thought. A recent Washington Post report found over 5,400 trackers sending and receiving data from a single iPhone in one week, often even when the phone was idle or not in use.
The fact that all of those apps we install on our phone also take in our data is not surprising, but 5,400 trackers in a week is more than anyone would expect. "The iPhones in particular, are sending tracking software that's tracking data at a massive amount throughout the day," says High Tech Texan Michael Garfield. "That is, taking your whereabouts, your IP address, your e-mail address, all your information...and sending it to these third-party companies."
Garfield tells KTRH that expecting privacy on your smartphone is simply naive, especially since most of us actually agree to be tracked voluntarily. "When we install apps, we all have to check off on that end-user license agreement, and hardly anybody reads that legalese," he says. "But if you read it there are some things they say they're going to do, like share that information. You can guarantee that your information is being used for something...maybe it's marketing, maybe it's research and development."
But not all trackers are bad. Garfield points out that many apps need info on us in order to enhance their services, function properly, and essentially do what we want them to. Examples of this are apps for things like mapping, shopping, and travel. "If we don't give access and information to some of these companies, our phones become bricks," says Garfield.