Smartphones are essential gadgets in most people’s lives nowadays. After all, these devices are transforming mobile computing into the ability to do everything a desktop computer can do. Only smartphones can perform functions into a small handheld device. But have you ever thought that there might be privacy risks involved with using a smartphone? Well, there are many differing opinions on the subject. Let’s take a look at them.
While there are many benefits of smartphones, some believe that they are a distraction and allow the user to rely on the device too much for daily tasks. Others believe that smartphones benefit classroom learning and multitasking abilities. But aside from the possible benefits and disadvantages, some say that smartphones create a different problem—privacy risks.
People share much of their life on smartphones through social media networks. Apps let you tag yourself and others in real time and lets users know your location. The problem is that many people overshare their information on these channels. But the reality is the smartphones complicate the protection of your privacy because phone companies store your information for at least two years. Authorities can see what is has been stored on your smartphone if need be. Ethical or not, mobile carriers receive hundreds of thousands of subpoenas for user information.
Some experts believe that smartphones pose privacy risks because they can easily be turned into surveillance devices without impairing their functions. They also say that smartphones can be used as tracking devices by private hackers, the government, or cloud service provider. Cloud computing further enables data to be obtained.
It doesn’t matter if the smartphone is an iPhone or an Android; the breach of privacy of still possible by the transmission of data through apps. Data that is collected through apps is actually used for targeted advertising after it is assembled into user profiles. In fact, the companies that set the standards for app data gathering are big contenders in the ad business.
Here are some tips to protect your data and identity when using your smartphone:
- Manage location settings. If you want to control location settings in apps like Facebook, Twitter, etc., be sure to turn off all possible forms of location assessment. If you do this, apps will not know your location.
- Lock your phone. Set your phone up so that you need a password to use it. This is a simple way to keep your data under control.
- Encrypt data. This makes it possible for your phone to remain protected because the contents will be encrypted.
- Avoid downloading apps from untrusted sources. Apps are likely to be invasive in nature if they aren’t approved by an app store.
The bottom line? To avoid privacy issues, do not trust strange apps, weird companies, or strange networks.