Are you a smartphone user? Is your phone's Wi-Fi turned on always or at least most of the time? Are you in the habit of connecting to Wi-Fi in public places to download an app update or a mail or a video? Are you in the habit of updating your Facebook or Twitter accounts every now and then? Or do you just click a "Like" or make a short comment like LOL there? While doing so, remember that you are continuously broadcasting your location from these phones. Beware of all the secrets your smartphone is sharing about you. A lot of information can be gleaned with the help of your phone without your knowledge or without even asking you a single question.
Today wireless sensors are placed in business districts to track shoppers as they move out in the shopping malls and bazaars. Even if you don't connect to the locally available Wi-fi, these sensors follow signals emitted from our Wi-Fi enables smartphones which allows them to create profiles of people and their habits as they go about their everyday lives travelling from one place to another. Shopping malls can use sensors to analyse foot-traffic patterns, largely within the premises to glean insight about customer behaviour.
Location data is valuable to businesses. Instead of offering a general promotion, businesses can promote their products specifically depending upon their customers' tastes. It can help retailers see which neighbourhoods shoppers arrived from or limited information about their habits, such as restaurants they drive past. Even Apple has technology which can be integrated into sensors to read customer's smartphone signals in shopping malls and stores.
Business have begun using the technology more broadly to follow people where they live, work and shop. They can use that information, along with the wider foot traffic data, to come up with dozens of lifestyle categories, including yoga-goers, people who like theatre, and gizmo hunters.
For example, a business that knows which sports team is most favoured by its clients could offer special promotions on game days. Another example: A company could track people's visits to specialist doctors or hospitals. Marketers can in turn can infer that a person has a certain disease from their Internet searches. A geo-location company can actually see the person visiting the doctor, making the inference that the individual has this disease probably even more accurate.
Geo-location companies can build detailed dossiers of people's lifestyles by merging location data with those from other sources, including marketing firms. They can also buy bulk phone-signal data from cell phone carriers, and then break those users into lifestyle categories based on their daily travels.
Today, with their Android and iOS mobile operating systems, respectively, Google and Apple know the location of every customer's Wi-Fi-enabled phone—far more location data than any geo-location company could access. If you have also switched on the "Trace my phone" safety feature, it is all the more easy for the other number to track not only your phone but in most cases YOU. And if you are using apps like True Caller, you are exposing the names of people you know who are in your contact list to others who are willing to share their caller ids also in the shared network and thus you open up possible vulnerebilities, risks and threats for your contacts.
Places where people didn't think they were being watched are now repositories for collecting information and companies are increasingly able to connect between our online and offline lives.
Is your privacy becoming cheap?