Adam Schwartz of the Electronic Frontier Foundation says it's not just from the phone itself. "When you download an app into you phone, there's a good chance it has embedded code to transmit your location - even when you're not using the app!" He says government groups and corporations can both use it against you. "Corporations want to use it for advertisement, to check your credit, to re-possess your property...governments want this information to investigate alleged crime, or for people who maybe went to a protest."
On the surface it sounds harmless - Schwartz says companies can pay for your information. "They might decide that your driving patterns you may or may not qualify for a loan - or you may or may not be qualified to get the job you applied for." Both law enforcement and private corporations may want knowledge of some of your visited locations like a church or certain types of entertainment or even an abortion clinic. Schwartz says to turn off your phones when close to sensitive locations.
Here are some ways you can cut down on this invasion:
If you’re going to some place that is especially sensitive to you, e.g., to a protest or to a doctor’s office and you don’t want people to know you are there, turn off your phone a few blocks before you get there.
- Your phone contains an “Advertiser Identification.” The Ad-ID’s purpose is that all the bits that come out of your phone have a unique Ad-ID and all the advertisers will figure out who you are and send you their advertisement. Turn off the Advertiser ID
- Support laws that limit how corporations and government use out phone locations.