Is your smartphone spying on you? The answer is yes, but just how many different ways might surprise you. Worldwide, smartphone users generate 250 million terabytes of new data every single day. While it might not make sense that all that data would be stored and used for other purposes, it is, and companies spend millions analyzing your every move for a wide variety of reasons. Is it even possible to have privacy on the internet or on your smartphone these days?
Every second on the internet there are 946 Instagram photos uploaded, 8690 Tweets, 77,783 Google searches, 2,845,459 emails sent. All of that data sticks around forever, and there is also metadata about each one of those transactions, such as what type of device it was sent from, the location of the user, the user’s service provider, and more. While the metadata is often stripped of identifying information, there is enough of it out there that law enforcement can use it to track your every move with astonishing accuracy.
Google alone tracks what smartphone apps you use and when, what you read, watch, and search, where you go and when through your Google maps and Google calendar, and it also records everything you say after ‘OK Google’. Why do they do this?
Every smartphone app or piece of software that tracks you uses that information to target ads and generate revenue. By 2025, the market for in-app advertising is expected to reach $234 billion. As the saying goes, if something is free, you are the product.
It’s important to use your smartphone wisely. Some free apps collect your information for malicious purposes. In one case, a flashlight app in 2013 settled with the FTC because it failed to inform users it was collecting their location data and identifiers. Before you download any app, ensure it is from a reputable source and that you don’t already have that function preloaded on your smartphone.
Learn more about protecting your privacy on your smartphone below!
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Last Updated on February 10, 2021.