Even if you have'Location History' off, Google often stores your precise location. Here's how to delete those markers and some best-effort practices that keep your location as private as possible. But there's no panacea, because simply connecting to the internet on any device flags an IP address that can be geographically mapped. Smartphones also connect to cell towers, so your carrier knows your general location at all times. Fire up your browser and go to myactivity.google.com.
Hundreds of popular apps are collecting location data that they claim is anonymous, but further analysis shows it can be easily linked to specific users. These apps include ones like the Weather Channel, GasBuddy and WeatherBug, many of which inform users that they collect location data, but not necessarily how the data will be used, an investigation from the New York Times found. The findings have raised both privacy and security concerns as advocates say many users are unaware how much they're being tracked. The location data was as precise as within a few yards and was found to update with new information thousands of times each day. In one case, data was collected from a child's phone The Times gained access to a database from a company that included information from more than a million phones in the New York area.
Google records your movements even when you explicitly ask it not to. Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even after you have enabled privacy settings purportedly designed to stop data-gathering. Researchers created a visual map of the movements of Princeton postdoctoral researcher Gunes Acar based on the location history stored in his Google account. Dr Acar carried an Android phone with the'Location History' setting switched off during his travels. Despite the setting purportedly preventing data collection, Google kept records of Dr Acar's train commute on two trips to New York and visits to the High Line park, Chelsea Market, Hell's Kitchen, Central Park and Harlem.
China now has seminars to teach other countries how to censor free speech as its'techno-dystopia' spreads, a worrying report has found. Governments worldwide are stepping up use of online tools to suppress dissent and tighten their grip on power, a human rights watchdog study found. Chinese officials have held sessions on controlling information with 36 of the 65 countries assessed, and provided telecom and surveillance equipment to a number of foreign governments, researchers said. India led the world in the number of internet shutdowns, with over 100 reported incidents in 2018 so far, claiming that the moves were needed to halt the flow of disinformation and incitement to violence. Many governments, including Saudi Arabia, are employing'troll armies' to manipulate social media and in many cases drown out the voices of dissidents.
The harvesting and sharing of data by mobile phone apps is out of control, Oxford researchers have warned. More than 40 per cent could transfer information about users to businesses ultimately owned by Facebook. Researchers studied 959,000 apps on the US and Google Play Stores, 88 per cent of which could hand over data to Alphabet, which owns Google. 'Billions of people use smartphones every day, generating vast amounts of data about themselves', scientists wrote in the paper. 'Much of the functionality afforded by these devices comes in the form of applications which derive revenue from monetising user data and displaying behaviourally targeted advertising.'