Mrs. The Droid Lawyer and my office assistant were both shocked by a recent Facebook post that’s getting too much attention. Apparently, there’s a blog post on the internets exposing the truth of smartphones as privacy hacks. The post contains this investigative report from KHSB television in Kansas City:

Yawn. I’ve already discussed privacy and smartphones and security about 1,000,000 times.

The story didn’t give me any new information about the risks of owning a smartphone or other mobile device. Obviously, if you’re going to use a device that is able to tell you your location, then it’s also giving off information about your whereabouts.

This is a prime example of metadata. The information is data about data, and in this case, the data is the location, phone information, and even the details about the picture. Here’s a shot of some metadata from one of my recent pictures:

Photo Metadata

If you don’t want to share this information, or more especially, you don’t want to share your location (and who could blame you), then you’ll need to turn off geolocation.

Turning geolocation on or off on your Android device is easy: Settings > Location access > Access to my location. By flipping the on/off switch, you’re telling your Android phone or tablet not to track you.

Be aware though that without tracking enabled, your Android device will have trouble presenting you with directions, Google Now information, and even weather.

If you decide to keep geolocation active, then just be aware of some of the risks. Yes, people will be able to track you. As for me, I’m keeping geolocation active and aware. And no, I’m not ditching my smartphone or tablet.

Jeff Taylor

I'm just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I'm also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.


dhoppy · August 14, 2013 at 6:20 am

I don’t understand why this is popping up on Facebook now, isn’t the report from 2010? I agree, old news.

    Jeffrey Taylor · August 14, 2013 at 6:27 am

    Yes. It’s really old news. But, like any good rumor story that won’t die, it’s back again. And again. And again…

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