Your Mobile Location Is Giving You Away

Posted by kdunlaevy@gmail.com | April 11, 2013

Mobile location_blogDid you know that your activity on your phone can be tracked without your knowledge and used to identify you? Consider for a minute all of the information you have posted, listed, registered and shared about yourself across all of the different websites you frequent, and then think about what would happen if this information was aggregated and put in the hands of a cybercriminal. Not good, right?


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Mobile location tracking begins the moment your phone is turned on – by connecting to the network, your position and movement can be tracked. So, who is receiving this information? Mostly third parties that then sell it to advertisers. BUT you’ll be pleased to hear that the data used in these transactions is typically ‘anonymised’. Unfortunately, we are all so predictable that our behavior patterns give us away, and even though no personal information or mobile numbers are associated with the data, it can still be tracked back to a specific individual when combined with other forms of data – such as your Twitter posts. 


While mobile location tracking does have its positives – think BullGuard Mobile Security’s Antitheft capability: track down your stolen phone, lock it or delete all the data – protecting your personal information, passwords and financial data from would-be criminals. Mobile phone tracking also has some questionable applications. Because this area has developed so quickly in recent years, researchers are still behind in terms of understanding the privacy implications of this data. While they won’t stop collecting it, they are gaining insight into how personal this anonymous data is. Moreover, a recent study shows that mobile phone apps are accessing users’ private data far more than strictly necessary.


It’s important to consider your privacy when putting any personal information online, even something as simple as a Facebook check-in at your local gym. You never know who might be collecting this information or how they might use it in combination with other data you’ve put out on the world wide web.



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