Smartphones can convey the information about their owners to mobile operators, marketing companies and developers. Why do they want to know where we are, what we search and buy in the Internet, and do we have to worry about our privacy?
Most of the personal information users reveal by themselves. Facebook posts, photos in Instagram or check-ins in Foursquare. If privacy settings are wrong all this can tell almost everything about us and not only to our friends, but to the employers, bank clerks and others who can be interested in us.
Analysing the information from social networks with the help of special program can track where the frequent users live or what places they visit. For example, the participants of Reddit internet community have found out that Google Now needs only 3 days to detect where you live.
Today every smartphone has the functions of a computer, map, camera and organizer. You can even read eBooks with its help. It stores the information about all your contacts and you can buy different stuff with its help. Apart from this, many devices have GPS-modules. With such a bunch of functions and sensors smartphones do know a lot about us!
Recently it was discovered that mobile devices transmit the information about us to some third-party organisations without any permission.
So maybe such privacy violations should make us stop using smartphones?
Perhaps for those people who worry about their safety far too much this is the way to go. They shouldn’t use any social networks as well. But for the rest – it is not necessary.
There are some reasons why the large techno-corporations collect the information about us and most of them seem to be good.
- First of all, the better system knows you the better it works and the more personalized it becomes. A search engine will give you more relevant results and even Google Now will successfully count the time you need to get to your home or work place and suggest you the most convenient route.
- Secondly, knowing your preferences, marketing companies will offer you only those advertisements you might really be interested in.
- And last but not the least, sometimes your personal information may become an object of a serious social analysis. For example, it is possible to detect what roads need to be repaired because of the heavy traffic.
- There are many options where big data may be used.
But in reality the information is used far beyond such goals. Most of the telecommunication companies collect and analyse the information about their subscribers and then sell this information to other companies and gain a profit.
Is it possible to avoid all this while using a smartphone? Unfortunately no. The researches of the Human Computer Interaction Center in Carnegie Mellon University have found out that among a hundred of the most popular applications about a half of them uses our personal data violating privacy.
It seems that the age of privacy is coming to its end and the only possibility to keep it is to stop using smartphones or internet that is impossible nowadays. But if we are informed – we are protected. All we can do is to be more careful while revealing personal information in Internet or using doubtful applications.
Photo Credit: Flickr/Phil Roeder