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Can anyone really track the exact location of my phone?



  The iPhone was blown up during the protests during the night
Lewis Tse Pui Lung / Shutterstock.com.

It's the year 201

9 and everyone voluntarily carries a tracking device in their pocket. People can track their exact locations in real time from government, advertising companies and even rogue hunters. It sounds like dystopian fiction – but it's a reality.

We like to expose sensational stories, but this last controversy is true. The exact location of your phone can be tracked in several ways.

So, Rogue Bounty Hunters Can Track Your Position

  People walk in the rain in the night through Toronto
flemingn / Shutterstock.com.

The latest controversy was touched by Joseph Cox on a motherboard giving a $ 300 bounty hunter and a phone number. The bounty hunter managed to find the exact current location of the mobile phone, which is assigned to this phone number, to a few hundred meters.

Wait, slow down: how?

Well, apparently AT & T, Sprint and T – All sales data – including geographic locations associated with customer numbers – for a variety of sketchy third party companies. For example, this information can be used by the Pfandbrief industry to track people down. But there is not much oversight, and bounty hunters have access to the data. "People are selling to the wrong people," said a source from the bail industry to Motherboard.

Here's the sad thing: that's not even a new problem! The New York Times reported that this could happen as early as May 2018. Mobile operators promised to do better. For example, T-Mobile CEO John Legere in response to the New York Times Story of June 2018

"did not sell customer location data to dodgy middlemen"

. The good news is that AT & T, Sprint and T-Mobile have all promised not to sell this data to aggregators in response to the story of the motherboard from January 2019. And it seems like whether Verizon had already stopped after the earlier history of the New York Times.

What You Can Do About It : As hoped, this time, hopes do not sell your data to dodgy intermediaries.

The Government Can Track Your Location

  Bronze Statue of Justice
Michal Kalasek / Shutterstock.com.

It should be noted that the government itself continues to have access to your location data from your mobile company. All you need is a warrant and you can offer it to your wireless service provider. The mobile service provider can then make your location available to the government and even provide real-time updates. (And yes, the US Supreme Court ruled that the police needed a warrant to get this information!)

It all makes perfect sense. Of course, with the technology in place, the government can use a warrant to access it. However, it is a very different change than decades ago when the government had no way to track people's real-time locations with a device that is almost always in their pockets.

The government does not even have to involve your mobile phone company. There are other tricks to help you pinpoint your location, such as: By providing Stingray equipment in your area. These people approach near cell towers and force your phone to connect to them. (Other US courts decide that the police also need a warrant for this type of location.)

What You Can Do About It : Nothing, unless you do not want to talk on the phone ,

How advertisers can track your position

  Thunderstorm over the city in violet light
Vasin Lee / Shutterstock.com.

It's not just your mobile service provider. Even if your wireless service provider has protected your data perfectly, it's probably very easy to find you because you can access the apps installed on your smartphone.

Weather apps are especially bad. You install a weather app and give it access to your location. After all, your location needs to show you the weather. This is all true and exaggerated.

But keep in mind: This weather app also sells your data to the highest bidder. You probably have not paid any money for your weather app, so it has to make some money!

The City of Los Angeles is suing the Weather Channel, saying its app is relentlessly winning and selling users' location data. AccuWeather was also caught sending its users' location data to a third-party advertiser in 2017, even after the app was updated after the app was first updated to remove this feature! This is a pattern especially for weather apps. It is possible that this data will be used to determine the exact locations of the weather app users.

Dark Sky promises that you will not abuse your location data and we like Dark Sky. However, Dark Sky can only afford it because it costs money for its weather app in advance.

Weather apps are just one example, and any kind of apps that request access to your location will probably sell it somehow. Rogue bounty hunters are likely to be able to retrieve location data from such apps in the future, rather than mobile operators.

What You Can Do About It : Avoid accessing third-party apps to your location. As Motherboard recommends, do not use third-party weather apps anymore and use your phone's built-in weather app. (To manage app permissions on your iPhone or Android phone.) In many weather apps, you can also enter a postal code or city name for the cities you want to track. At least that's better than sharing your location data.

How your family can track your location

blackzheep / Shutterstock.com.

Your phone can discover the location and share it in the background, even when the screen is off. You do not need to have an app open.

You can see this for yourself if you use a service like Apple's Find My Friends, which is included on iPhones. Find My Friends lets you share your real-time locations with family members or friends. Once you've granted someone access, they can open the app, and Apple's servers ping your iPhone, get your location, and show it to them. It's a convenient way to see if your partner is still coming home from work or finding your friends in a crowd.

Android phones have something similar in a Google app called Trusted Contacts, and of course there are many third party vendors. Party apps that help you share your real-time locations with others.

Of course only with your permission, but it only shows how widespread this technology is. After all, it's the same technology that lets you remotely track your lost iPhone or Android phone in case you lose it. However, it's available for any app that asks in the background for access to your location.

What You Can Do About It : Be careful who you share your real-time location with.


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