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8/26/2014
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Location Tracking: 6 Social App Settings To Check

Popular social apps, including Facebook, Google, Foursquare, and Twitter, may track your every move. Get the lowdown -- and instructions for turning off these options.

3D Mapping Data's Future: 8 Examples
3D Mapping Data's Future: 8 Examples
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Late last year, the Federal Trade Commission fined one of Android's most popular apps, called Brightest Flashlight Free, after an investigation found that the app tracked and sold users' precise location information without their consent.

While the app's privacy policy disclosed that it collected this sort of data, it didn't warn users that it routinely shared this information with third parties. Goldenshores Technologies, the maker of the app, was later forced to delete all the information it had collected.

Passive location tracking, in which applications track where you are even when you're not using the app, has grown in popularity. Users often agree to these location services when downloading the app or speeding through permission pop-ups.

[Facebook's latest privacy changes include welcome improvements. Read Facebook Privacy: 10 Settings To Check.]

Facebook, for example, uses this technology in an opt-in feature called Nearby Friends, which pinpoints your location on a map so your friends can see where you are. Foursquare uses passive location tracking to push deals and recommendations to your device when you're near a restaurant that matches your interests, and Google tracks your daily movements on a map "to improve search results."

But in the era of NSA and government data requests, not everyone is comfortable with companies tracking their every move. In a report on location-based services published last year, Pew Research found that while there was notable growth in the number of social media users who set their accounts to include location in their posts, 35% of adult users said they have turned off location-tracking features on their phones because they were worried about other people or companies accessing this information.

But opting out of these settings isn't always easy. Here's a look into how Google, Facebook, Messenger, Foursquare, Swarm, and Twitter track your location, plus instructions for disabling the location-tracking features.

Google
Google, like many other apps and websites, knows a lot about you: your demographics, interests, and online browsing habits, for example. But one thing you may not realize Google tracks is every place you and your phone travel to, with surprising (and creepy) accuracy.

Take a look at Google's location-tracking site and log in with your account credentials. Some users may see a blank map, but others will see detailed routes outlined in red depicting exactly where you have been. You can use the calendar on the left to sort your movements by a specific day or hover over a point on the map to see what time you were there.

Google says it tracks this information to "use it to improve your search results based on the places you've been." If you're not comfortable with Google knowing your every move, you can turn it off and delete your history.

Visit your Account History page to turn this setting off. After you log in, select the "Places you've been" option, then click Pause to turn it off. To delete your entire location history, visit your Location History page and select "Delete all history." You can also delete your history for certain days by 

Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
8/30/2014 | 10:22:28 PM
Phew!
Great piece, Kristin.  I was very relieved to log in to the link you provided and see a clear map.  But then, I'm the sort of guy that goes through settings immediately and is like "Disable, Disable, Disable, Disable, Disable..."  So I'd have been genuinely surprised to see much of any data.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
8/30/2014 | 1:24:08 AM
Re: How much of this is dependent on GPS?
@David one of my friend works at security department and told me that their is a possibilty that you can be tracked through your mobiles even you are not making calls, or puting you GPS on, you can also be tracked with your sims after they are put in the phones before they are actually used. So I believe that GPS on or off does not matter any more. Its being given for our comfort but security departments are already comfortable with tracking system in place which we cannot even think off.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
8/30/2014 | 1:18:11 AM
Re: Facebook the invader
@Henrisha I agree with you. I think that once you are getting in there are so much that forces you to stick to FB. But I am one lucky one that is forced out of this FB Charisma by my company. They are not allowing the social media to be used in the official timings. I am very much relieved as now I think I have some time for myself and my family.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
8/30/2014 | 1:12:25 AM
Re: 1 Don't download junk apps. 2. Don't worry if you have nothing to hide
@Vnewman2 very interesting to hear your awful ordeal. I just want to highlight that you are not alone who is getting disturbed.

In an incident, summarizing, that I checked into one of the premier the hotel, completed the formalities at reception desk,they handed over tag keys for my suite to me. As I was on one night stay so not much of luggage. I went to my rom, stayed there, did my official commitment and came back. All went normal as ever. The real hussel started when about 15 days or so down the line I received a call from them to report to the hotel for some urgent work which I did. Once reaching back they started dealing with me like a criminal. The ordeal continued for 2-3 hours till I got hold of my lawyer.

Cutting the story, actually the day I checked in I inserted my tag key but due any reason the insertion was not recorded in the system. There was some criminal activity reported on that day in the hotel and the security personnal were looking for clues and I bacema their major forcus as I checked into the hotel but I never went into the room.

Rest whats happened is a long story but at last I was able to prove my innocense and started living a criminal tag free live again which at one time during the investigation I actually started feeling that I am actually a criminal.
Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2014 | 8:14:54 PM
Re: Facebook the invader

@Henrisha    And apparently they ( FB ) do a poor job in record keeping, I am talking about people who have passed away. 

Unless someone knows your password or makes the effort to contact FB.  Your profile lives on long after you do.

Technocrati
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Technocrati,
User Rank: Ninja
8/29/2014 | 8:12:16 PM
Re: Facebook the invader

Thank you Kristin for letting us know how to disable location tracking in Google which is really all I use.  Just reading that in this file lies......

 

Gave me chills, thanks for the information.

BillB031
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BillB031,
User Rank: Strategist
8/28/2014 | 9:59:00 AM
Re: 1 Don't download junk apps. 2. Don't worry if you have nothing to hide
I certainly have nothing to hide, but why would I want some stranger or some organization knowing if I visited a gas station, grocery store, museum or a park?  Even though it might be their "business",  it's none of their business.... What am I missing?
BillB031
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BillB031,
User Rank: Strategist
8/28/2014 | 9:45:35 AM
Re: How much of this is dependent on GPS?
Same with me David.  My GPS is off 99% of the time.  Apps that require it on, don't make it installed on my phone.  Google also asks if you would like cell towers and wifi to more acurately define your locaction.  The answer is always no.
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
8/27/2014 | 6:22:31 PM
How much of this is dependent on GPS?
I routinely disable the GPS on my phone to stretch battery life, meaning the only time I have GPS on is when I'm trying to get directions somewhere. But I know there are other geolocation techniques based on cell towers etc. (foggy on the details, I admit).

Just wondering how much I'm being tracked with GPS off. I'm actually less freaked out by such things than many other folks, but I'd still like to know.
Henrisha
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Henrisha,
User Rank: Strategist
8/27/2014 | 2:17:02 PM
Re: Facebook the invader
The more people find out about Facebook (or the lack of information or transparency thereof when it comes to users' data), the more they want to quit the social network for their privacy. Unfortunately, it seems like once you're in, you're in and even though you delete your account, they'll already have a record on you.
<<   <   Page 2 / 4   >   >>
Social is a Business Imperative
Social is a Business Imperative
The use of social media for a host of business purposes is rising. Indeed, social is quickly moving from cutting edge to business basic. Organizations that have so far ignored social - either because they thought it was a passing fad or just didnít have the resources to properly evaluate potential use cases and products - must start giving it serious consideration.
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