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Your Cell Phone is Invading Your Personal Privacy Without Your Knowledge

Smart phone spying Infographic
Smart phone spying Infographic

Your Smartphone is spying on You.

Location-based apps make life easier, but they may also make privacy a thing of the past.
What’s a location-based app? An app that provides geo-specific information based on

  • Queries “What restaurants are nearby?”
  • Promotions (Local deals or coupons pushed by businesses)

What data do they track?

  • Your phone ID
  • Your contacts
  • Your phone number
  • Which phone numbers you dial
  • What websites you visit
  • Where you check in

Location based app Foursquare announced its’ 20 million users have made 2 billion check-ins as of April 2012

What do they do with the data?
Many Apps partner with marketers, who use the data to create targeted advertising
and compile dossiers that include details like age and gender of phone users.

Can you opt out?Yes, but you’ll lose some functionality.

Location-based apps collect data in order to:

  • improve products and services
  • troubleshoot bugs
  • provide services
  • Allow software updates and product support

They’re watching Some apps use tracking pixels for targeted advertising and invisible gifs (aka web beacons or tags) to capture usage information

and listening Some smartphone apps turn on the microphone to listen to background noise and report back on what they hear (supposedly actual words aren’t being recorded)

IntoNow: Helps create social networks on the fly by determining if different users are in the same room or watching the same TV program in different locations.

ShopKick: Listens for a special tone so it knows when you are in a store that offers a shopkick discount.

But people still love them! – Despite the Intrusion most people still hand over some personal information.

  • 74% of smartphone owners use location-based apps
  • 18% check In to geosocial services or share location with friends

Especially universities and college students
They can use location-based apps to

  • Encourage student attendance at campus events and activities
  • Market themselves through social media; students are likely to post updates about their participation in app-based events
  • Introduce students to campus through lists of locations to visit
  • Enhance campus tours for prospective students and parents with location-based information
  • Offer promotions at nearby university stores or campus facilities
  • Build an interactive campus guidebook where students can earn points for checking into places and participating in campus activities
  • Reach out to the community and alumni as well as students

They can use them to

  • Discover the best study spot or computer lab
  • Find out which friends are going to concerts
  • Track down hard to find classrooms
  • Get good deals on all campus restaurants

The rise of the smartphones
46% of American adults own smartphones and the number is growing.
Adoption is highest for:

  • College Grads
  • People 18-35
  • People with higher income

In tho first quarter of 2012:

  • Mobile phone sales decreased 2%
  • Smart phone sales increased 45%

Protected growth for 2012:

  • Mobile phone sales are projected to grow 4%
  • Smartphone sales are projected to grow 38%

It pays to pay attention Location-based apps have many uses, but it’s Important to know how to stay Secure

  • Review all your security options and update your privacy settings
  • Do not blindly click on links or advertisements
  • Turn off the “locate-me” feature as often as possible

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