It can be unnerving to come to the realization that the same Global Position System which helps you find your phone and get directions is accessible to others. After all, this opens up the question: Is big brother watching you?
Even if you’re not necessarily concerned about Big Brother, there are very real privacy concerns when it comes to the location tracking that your phone provides to outside parties. To protect your personal information and safety, let’s take a crack at unveiling real-time phone number locations.
The Power of Real-Time Phone Tracking
Real-time phone tracking allows Global Positioning Systems to see exactly where your phone is, not just whenever it is stopped or connected to WiFi, but while it is on the move. This is an incredibly powerful aspect of modern technology; it has eliminated the need for paper maps to reach a traveler’s destination, and can help find missing persons as long as their phone is on them!
As powerful as real-time phone tracking is, great power can sometimes fall into the wrong hands. Before we can discuss how personal privacy might be endangered by real-time phone tracking, we need to understand how location tracking technologies can work below.
Overview of Location Tracking Technologies
GPS, as previously mentioned, is short for “Global Positioning System.” A signal is sent, sometimes from a mobile phone or another kind of GPS device like car navigation systems, to a satellite. That satellite receives the signal and bounces the information about where the device is on the planet back down to the device itself in real-time.
This information is often recorded on mobile devices, and unfortunately, many apps have access to that same information in order to more efficiently send ads or suggestions to the user of the device. Some areas may lose satellite signal, and if the device’s locations services are turned off or the device loses power, the signal is cut off entirely.
Location Tracking Devices
These devices are typically attacked to an online account or even connected to an app. They use the services of Radio Frequency Identification and GPS, combined with WiFi or low-energy Bluetooth signals. This means you can usually find whatever the device is attached to even if it is disconnected from power.
Many apps and social media accounts have access to the locations they are being used, and may even be granted permission to track the real-time location of the device they are installed on through GPS. One of the more nefarious types of these apps is called “Spyware” and can even be invisible to the user.
Privacy Concerns in Real-Time Tracking
The problem with real-time phone tracking is that our phones often go with us everywhere. Therefore, if someone has access to the location of our phone, especially in real-time, they can also get access to:
- Where we live
- Our most frequented routes
- Our favorite retail and dining places
- Our workplace
All of these pieces of information can lead to an invasion and even violation of privacy.
How to Protect Your Location Privacy
Now that we’ve covered how real-time tracking works, what power it gives, and the potential privacy concerns associated with the function, let’s talk about what you can do to protect your location privacy! After all, the same technology that poses a threat can also keep you safe if you know what precautions to take.
Below, we’ll go over a few methods to make your phone’s location-tracking safe, keeping it working for you instead of against you.
- Switch to a Private Browser
Some corporate browsers are given permission to use your phone’s location tracking in order to use targeting ads, or even personalize your search results, the moment you agree to their “Terms & Conditions.” While this can help make your internet searches more efficient, it may also lead to a privacy risk.
Consider switching to a browser that does not ask for your location, IP address, or even your search Data, such as “Duck Duck Go.” If you’d rather keep one of the more mainstream, corporate Internet Browsers, you can also go to the browser’s privacy settings and toggle your Location Tracking to “Off.”
- Turn the Phone Off
This may seem like a simple choice, or even an inconvenient one, but a fool-proof way to avoid real-time tracking in a situation where your safety is concerned is to simply turn the phone off. Your phone might still send out the last-known location to GPS-driven functions, but it will completely cut off real-time location tracking while it remains off.
- Get Rid of Strange Apps
Sometimes, a hacker or another nefarious party will infect a mobile phone with what’s known as “spyware.” This uses location tracking, but can also come with additional threats to your privacy like downloading login information and monitoring online activity.
Always check for unfamiliar apps and delete them as soon as they’re noticed.
- Disable All Location Services
Just about every application asks for permission to track your location when it first downloads. When this is allowed, it can usually lead to those apps tracking all GPS data and keeping a log of it, even when you’re not using the app itself.
To avoid this, you can usually refuse to allow location tracking when the app is first installed. However, if you’ve already clicked “Allow,” don’t worry! You can still go to the settings of your phone and find each specific app, turning off location services. Note: this will only limit the apps that are tracking your location.
- Download a VPN
A VPN is a type of encryption service that can mislead any hackers, advertisers, or even people trying to track online activity, including location services. Once you find a VPN that you trust, use it to keep your information encrypted and more under your own control.
In conclusion, if you understand how real-time phone number location tracking works, it’s natural to worry that unwanted parties like Big Brother are watching you. It may even be true, thanks to hackers, Terms and conditions for newly-downloaded apps and browsers, and number tracking services.
Though location tracking can be very powerful for making our daily lives easier, especially through the use of GPS, it is possible to keep your information safe and choose who gets to track your phone number in real time. Consider installing a VPN, switching off location services whenever a new app is downloaded, or simply turning off your phone when in doubt.
Location services can work for you and against anyone hoping to take advantage of personal data about you as long as you remember how they work and how to keep them private!