App makers are also able to persuade users not to turn off location services, again with take-it-or-leave-it notifications. Users are not asked other important questions, like whether they approve of the app selling their location history to other companies.
Websites and apps make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, for most people to say no to aggressive surveillance and data collection practices. In my role as a scholar of human-computer interaction , one issue I study is the power of defaults.
Apps consume your personal information.
Yet the companies can legally, if not ethically, claim that everyone agreed to it. Privacy researchers know that people dislike these practices , and that many would stop using these services if they understood the extent of the data collection. If invasive surveillance is the price of using free services, many would rather pay or at least see companies held to stronger data collection regulations.
The companies know this too, which is why, I argue, they use a form of coercion to ensure participation.
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Until the U. Here are my three suggestions:. Start by learning how to turn off location services on your iPhone or Android device. Avoid apps, such as Facebook Mobile, that dig deeply into your phone for as much personal information as possible; instead, use a browser with a private mode, like Firefox , instead.
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Your phone tracks your movements all the time. It might also then target you later with ads on Facebook based on your last order. I think most of us get that ads are an accepted part of smartphone apps and the internet in general, but how many of us are comfortable with services we've never heard of knowing things like where we're located, and who we are? One of the biggest reasons this is a story is that Apple has long made a point that its services don't need your personal information to work.
Apple Pay and Messages and iCloud encryption happens on the device, and your private information stays on your device. That's great, but Apple could certainly do more on two fronts.
Facebook on the App Store
First, it should do a better job of educating you on what information is being used. Requiring app developers to disclose when trackers are being used would certainly cause many of us to think twice about whether having lunch delivered is worth turning over our privacy to an unknown third-party service. Especially one we have no way of holding accountable. Second, Apple should do a better job of giving you options to control your data.
Apple Is About to Reveal Facebook's Shady Location Tracking
It does allow you to turn off "Background App Refresh," which is what allows apps to send data even when you're not using the app. In addition to better controlling the flow of information, turning that off also saves data that can add up if you're not on an unlimited plan with your mobile carrier.
Apple gives you the choice of turning it off globally, or selecting which apps have the ability to send information while in the background. I turn it off for most except those like mail, or file sync apps.
Apple also allows you to "limit ad tracking," although the option is buried in settings, under "Privacy," and then "Advertising.