There are roughly 792 mobile apps downloaded each second. As a result, more and more services are taking to mobile in an effort to capitalize on this trend. That also means location-based capabilities and features are being integrated into many apps, whether users know it or not.
You may be someone who takes personal and digital privacy matters very seriously, or you might be more relaxed about your digital information. Either way, there are four types of settings users can check to determine how much information they make available to the world.
1. Minimum Personal Data Shared
Most apps require you to fill out a minimal amount of personal data to sign up for an account. Some or all of that data is visible as part of your user profile within that app. The amount of information and who gets to see it tends to vary.
Setting: Usually found under “sharing” or “privacy,” these settings determine what personal information you make public, partially public, or private. The important thing to look for is how much of your own network can see your profile, and what parts of your profile they can see. Also check to see if the app allows your extended networks to view profile information.
Example: In the popular app Highlight, the most secure privacy setting let’s you make your profile visible to “friends of friends only,” as opposed to “everyone.” While Highlight integrates with Facebook to ensure a higher quality and more legitimate set of connections, you’re essentially still sharing information with people you’ve never met.
2. Exact Locations Shared
Location-based apps pride themselves on accuracy, sometimes down to the inch. Luckily, many apps allow you some degree of control over identifying the exact location of, say, a private residence, your work place, or any location you don’t necessarily want people to know you frequent. If you’re at all hesitant about posting the location of your home online, make sure you check these settings.
Setting: This can vary, but these settings are usually found in the “privacy” section of apps, and often use the term “hide” or “hidden.”
Example: Strava, a popular app for mapping exercise activities, allows you to “hide” any location you want within a certain radius whether it’s 500 feet or a mile. This means an exact data point will not be associated with you. This setting cannot be performed within the mobile app itself, but through the Strava website, which has much more robust options. Also, hiding certain locations can cause your run or ride to be truncated, but that may be a small price to pay for some people.
3. Preloaded App Settings
It’s pretty easy to download a new app to your phone and get started, without diving deep into the settings. Keep in mind that each app comes equipped with preloaded settings based usually on what the company would like to see in terms of behavior and data usage, and not necessarily what you might like.
Setting: Make sure you go through the settings of an app before you start using it so you understand what information it collects, and how you can modify it. Check for descriptors like “location” to determine what kind of tracking functions are being used.
Example: The popular app Path has one location setting — neighborhood — that automatically updates your Path status when you change what it has determined as a neighborhood. This setting is automatically set to “on” when downloaded. You can easily change this by going into the settings section. It’s the very first one you see.
4. Automatic Check-in
Just because an app isn’t specifically used for location-based services or doesn’t focus on location-based activity doesn’t mean it won’t log — and post — that data.
Setting: This setting can be tricky. Sometimes you can change this within the app, but often times it may be in the general settings of your phone. Look for terms like “geo-locate” within the app and within your phone settings.
Example: Facebook’s geo-location actions are very subtle when they’re on. You basically see faint grey lettering in the lower left of your status screen.
To turn the setting off on your smartphone, you need to go to your general phone settings, then to “location-services” and scroll down to turn it off for Facebook. It will still allow you to add a location, but it won’t happen automatically.
With 1,627 mobile status updates happening on Facebook per second, the location-based data attached to these updates is worth investigating.
via Mashable! http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Mashable/~3/Ill64QAWXXk/