Tracking Software: Life Saving or Life Threatening?

Many would agree that the fact that almost all smartphones come with GPS services installed is one of their many advantages. For one, when traveling in or around a city you may not be familiar with, you have an instant map at your fingertips that makes it almost impossible to get lost.

Then the built-in GPS service could also save you the trouble of walking around your home while you search for your lost phone, thanks to apps like Find My Phone.

Against this background, however, GPS software what can help you not get lost can also help others pinpoint your location.

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Here's what you should know about location software on your phone.

Here’s what you should know about location software on your phone.
(Fox News)

“Find my” apps could save your life

Of course, the Find My Phone app and other GPS software were not designed to put iPhone or Android users at risk. On the contrary, the iPhone 14 comes with one Emergency SOS free for the first two years of use.

When accessed, regardless of where you are in the world, emergency services are contacted via satellite in locations where there is no Wi-Fi or cellular coverage. Of course, in areas covered by foliage or where other elements are not blocking the sky, it may not be possible to reach a satellite.

But when the sky is clear, the SOS service actually has life-saving potential, as it turns out very first rescue mission as a result of that service recently reported by the Alaska Department of Public Safety when a man traveling on a snowmobile was stranded.

Thanks to the SOS service, he was able to contact the Apple Emergency Response Center via satellite, which in turn was able to provide Alaska State Troopers with the man’s GPS coordinates.

The man was saved and spared thanks to the miracle of technology.

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The police can help you find your phone… for better or for worse

Another recent example of law enforcement using the Find My app led to a much less happy ending, according to a recent lawsuit (use link: https://www.aclu-co.org/sites/default/files/ wysiwyg /complaint_and_jury_demand_12-01-2022_redacted.pdf ) filed in Colorado County Courts a few weeks ago.

The Denver Police Department was on the hunt for a stolen truck carrying $4,000 in cash, several guns and two drones, as well as the truck driver’s iPhone. Understandably, the police had the intuition to use the Find My app to locate the phone and hopefully the perpetrators.

They were able to locate what turned out to be the home of retired postal worker Ruby Johnson, who was temporarily arrested while police searched her home for the missing phone.

While the missing phone was never found, a screenshot from the Find My app showed the iPhone was near Johnson’s home, not her exact address. Unfortunately, the phone, let alone the stolen truck and ammunition, were never found, and Johnson, with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, is suing the detective at the Denver Police Department for unspecified damages.

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Be careful when downloading new apps

It’s hardly the first time that location services on a person’s phone have put someone in a precarious, if not downright dangerous, position. Namely because people tend to approve all apps to know your location with a simple click of a button.

While we should always do just that for navigation apps, we might want to think twice about sharing our location with others, since spyware software intentionally designed to track and track you is on the rise.

Even allowing our location to be available on social media at all times could be a mistake as it opens up the potential for almost anyone to track you.

There are a few simple steps people with an iPhone can take to ensure that your location isn’t visible to everyone.

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Use these tips to customize your privacy when using location software.

Use these tips to customize your privacy when using location software.
(Fox News)

How can I control which iPhone apps track you?

Follow these steps

  • Click Settings
  • Click Privacy & Security
  • Click Location Services.

Here you’ll see all the apps you’re currently sharing your location with, and will be greeted with a few location options:

  • Always
  • while using
  • next time ask
  • Never.

Which apps should I allow to track my location?

This is of course a matter of personal opinion, but in general the only apps that require knowing your location are:

  • Find my apps
  • navigation apps
  • Ride share apps
  • Grocery delivery apps.

And still, having location services only “while in use” is probably a good idea.

Apps to avoid allowing location

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You can never be sure who is watching you.

One can never know exactly who is on the receiving end of your current location when using an app, as demonstrated by Twitter and Instagram’s precise location alert. While the situation didn’t prove to be as serious as suspected, it was still a sobering reminder of how frighteningly easy it is for hackers to find your exact location through just about any app, or that we may have downloaded a rogue app that comes with stalking malware is filled.

But don’t put up with that, or Ms. Johnson’s admittedly frightening experience will put you off ever using a navigation app again. Because sometimes, when you need it most, it can save you from getting lost or, in extreme circumstances, help you to be found.

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