Big Brother in the Palm of Your Hand

GoogleMapI will never be accused of being a conspiracy theorist – I believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, Elvis is dead, and Paul McCartney is alive. However, there is one thing I can say for sure: Big Brother IS watching you and you are probably unwittingly allowing it!

So how is this happening? Are there spy satellites from outer space trained on every human on the planet? Computer chips implanted in every newborn without their knowledge? Nope, it’s nothing as sinister as that – it’s just that little smartphone you’ve come to depend on so much in your everyday life!

Just concentrating on the most popular smartphone platforms out there, both Android and Apple have a feature called “Location Services”.  This feature is built into your smartphone and turned on by default. When this is enabled, your phone is tracking every move it (and you) makes and storing a history of those travels. You can then view your movements on a map via Google or Apple Maps. It even tells you how far you travelled! See above for a sample of what it looks like on Google Maps when I log into my Google account online.

Now if you do believe you just saw Elvis in the grocery store yesterday, and that Google and Apple are tracking you for malicious purposes, the good news is that you can turn this off. Here are some quick instructions on how to do so and of course parents might not want to share this with your kids:

(Please note that these could vary a little depending on what version you are running).

Android:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Scroll down until you see Location and select that option
  3. Select Google Location History
  4. Uncheck the On selection. You can also delete your location history on this screen.

Apple:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Select Privacy
  3. Select Location Services
  4. Select System Services
  5. Slide the On/Off selector for Frequent Locations to the Off position

So the next time you get that weird feeling that you’re being followed, maybe you’re not so crazy after all. And be sure to say “hi” to Elvis for me!

Happy travels!

One Comment on “Big Brother in the Palm of Your Hand

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