Your phone is tracking you

Is my phone tracking me?

Monday 2 August, 2021

If you aren’t using a secure mobile phone, yes, your phone is tracking you and your location

And, if you’re using a standard Android phone or an iPhone you are most certainly being tracked.

Google knows where you are right now. Facebook knows where you are and even what you’ve just bought, as too do Amazon. Some governments know the exact movements of every individual in their country of residence.

Phone-based location tracking is becoming an ever-increasing feature of smartphones usage across the world. Some tracking can be seen as a legitimate process to help people worldwide, for example the use of COVID-19 tracing to reduce contact. Other tracking can be seen as a massive invasion of your personal privacy and your right to this privacy. 

There are options, you can still own a smartphone and retain your privacy! Read on to find out how.

Who’s using your phone to track you and why?

The answer to who is tracking you is troubling enough. It could potentially be dozens of Apps and then subsequently the organisations and governments they share / sell the information to. It is thought that the average number of Apps on a smartphone is 50, therefore the amount of tracking information that can be obtained has the potential to be huge. 

In addition, the NHS COVID-19 track and trace App monitors movements in sufficient detail for it to identify all places visited and when. In the UK, this data has been an integral part of the government’s approach to tackling the spread of the virus and the data has been used for this purpose alone. 

However, some fear that this tracking and tracing technology will not end now that the pandemic has started to ease. The worry is that it could be used to research the location and behaviour of the population on a wider scale. Naturally, this is disputed by the agencies involved with the roll out of the App, but the potential is still there. 

When looking at more intense monitoring by governments, for example China, they use the tracking technology to understand a person’s actual identity, location and even purchases they’ve made in order to monitor if people are breaking their strict quarantine rules. The use and privacy levels of COVID tracking Apps vary dramatically across the world. 

Some countries the App is compulsory with little or no transparency of use through government policy. Some have limited use, for example, only for the reason it was collected, whereas others use the data beyond those remits to monitor the population for closely. 

In addition, some countries have placed a time limit for how long the data can be kept. In some countries it’s 30 days, others have no limit.  

In most countries, the tracking information is also collected and used by advertisers to accurately target people with their product or service marketing activities.

As can be seen, there are numerous routes that can be used to collect tracking information via your phone and the Apps on it to monitor phone and your movements by both private companies and by government agencies. 

What can you do to stop tracking?

It would be safe to assume that by turning off the Location feature from an Android or Apple phone would be a simple remedy for the problem. Unfortunately, simply switching off the location tracking feature won’t always help. A recent AP investigation found that Google tracks a user’s location, despite them having switched off the phone’s tracking features. 

Alternatively, it would be possible to simply delete all Apps from the smartphone, but that doesn’t support a fully functional and useful smartphone… the phone wouldn’t be so, smart! 

The Blackphone PRIVY mitigates the tracking risks without reducing the functionality of the phone. Building on the features of the Blackphone, the PRIVY enhances the reputation of being the most private smartphone and the most secure smartphone on the market. 

The Blackphone PRIVY offers a solution for business leaders and private individuals that would like to retain their privacy, particularly for security and personal safety reasons.

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