GPS, The Good and The Bad

Smartphone technology has changed the way in which we interact with the world in our everyday lives. From internet access to every kind of app imaginable, a world of information and content is at our fingertips 24/7. With so much to offer it is easy to only look at how these features can enhance our lives, but it is also important to recognize what you may be giving up to enjoy that app you just downloaded.

Having a GPS in your smartphone is one such feature that I find myself both excited and hesitant about having on me every moment. Without the ability for an app or website to know my location, it would be impossible to suggest local content to me that I may be interested in. This to me is one of the best features my phone offers me. When I am in a new city or just looking for a fun event that my friends and I can go to, all I need to do is open up an app or search online and within seconds I have a variety of local options to choose from. Now this isn't something that wasn't possible to do before GPS tracking was around, but now it is super convenient and I think we all love convenience. Another of my favorite features that my phone's GPS tracking allows is that it is able to determine where my home and work location is based on how much time I spend in the same place. It can then automatically tell me information about traffic on my commute and how long it is going to take me to get there. Also if I have driven to somewhere new and don't know how to get back home, my phone is already waiting to navigate me home at the click of a button. I don't have to open up a browser or an app and type in my current location and where I want to go, it's already done for me. When technology can help make my life just a little bit easier, I am thrilled to have it on me, but there are some aspects of GPS tracking that do have me concerned.

Now, I have already talked about how I love my phone being able to give me local information or directions home from wherever I am because it tracks my location. However, if I think about it a bit more, suddenly I realize that my phone was able to determine where my home and work are located by doing the exact same thing. Now my location data may be private in that it doesn't have my name attached to it, just the phone's Id number, but just by knowing my work and home location it has a digital fingerprint of me that can be matched up against social media to fill in the missing blanks. At this point, my mind starts to run down a rabbit hole thinking, who else is tracking my location that I don't know about, what are they doing with that information, and what if someone steals that information off my phone? How much privacy am I willing to sacrifice for the convenience that GPS tracking can offer me? I am sure some of you are saying, just turn off tracking if you are worried about it, but sometimes it is not clear what is tracking your location or where to turn it off. There are also a few services, in which you may not be able to simply change a setting and turn off the GPS functionality. For example, my phone's service provider is still able to get my location even when my phone is turned off. So how do you go about securing your privacy? Next time you install an app make sure you read what you are agreeing to give it access to. As consumers our power is through our purchases. If we don't want a feature, the best way to get it removed is to stop giving the company that produces it our money. But like I said earlier, I love the possibilities that can come from knowing my location.

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So instead of changing the settings every time I want to use my location based apps, I put my phone in my SilentPocket case. By placing my phone inside this stylish leather pouch all RF and RFID signals are blocked from reaching my phone, which effectively stops my GPS location from being shared. Now I can go about my life knowing that my privacy is safe and the features I love are still there to be used when I want them.

Source by Marcel Schneider

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