TechInAfrica – Whether you notice or not, the apps you download for free from either Play Store or App Store have been sharing your location data multiple times a day, mostly without your consent. The app’s developers do it since it helps them to select what ads they should add in the apps. In other words, they sell your data based on location in order to better target consumers for their own profits.
Even though the companies claimed they sell the raw data anonymously, it still is personal data that’s connected to people’s identities. Accessing it without the people’s consent is something unpleasant since nobody wants strangers to access their personal details.
Many apps that access users’ device’s location often have misleading explanation. For example, they don’t provide information about how the data will be used, whether it’s shared or sold. Most users agree to grant permission on share location without being informed of the information.
How to know if the apps you download have shared your location?
Apps with grant permission for sharing your location usually tell the users that the data will be used for market analysis and or for business purposes. However, some apps don’t sell its users data first and sell it later. Thus, users might not be informed about this.
In order to prevent this to happen, you should check the apps manually yourself. Either Android or iOS users, here are what you need to do to prevent the apps from accessing your location
- For Android users
For Android users, you can stop the apps that have been tracking your location by doing this method: Go to Settings > Security & Location > Privacy > Location > Location Permissions (the settings can be different from one Android smartphone to another).
Basically, Android phones have no access limitation for apps that share your location. The apps will still be able to track your location data even though you’re not using it. According to Google, the latest Android versions can restrict location a few times within an hour.
In order to be safe, you must disable/switch off location services. Moreover, delete the apps that you no longer use will also help to prevent your location data being tracked. However, it might be hard to delete your data even though you have deleted it. A solution for this is to delete your Location History from Google or from My Activity Segment (Go to Activity Controls > Web & App Activity then turn it off.
- For iOS users
For iOS users, you can go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > select Never if you want to block it all at and While Using to give some permissions and Always to allow apps to gather your location data even while you’re not using it. A faster way to do it is by disabling the Location Service.
Now you know that (some of you might have already known) that Google Play Store and App Store have let these apps to sell and share your location data for advertisers. They should have let the apps developers be more transparent to users about what they will do with the data they gather, whether it’s for marketing, data selling to advertisers, and so on.
If you want to be safer without your location data being sold, you can invest in paid apps. These paid apps usually don’t monetize your data. Another way to avoid your location being tracked is by deleting apps you don’t use anymore or delete them all and move to apps that focus on your privacy without relying so much on ads.