Several events regarding the theft of consumers’ personal information have raised a question on customer privacy offered by technology firms. This is why; few firms now have started advertising that their products and services protect their consumers’ personal information.
None of the Smartphone customers are asked if they would like to be tracked each moment of the day. However, Smartphone manufacturers, cellular/social media firms and application developers state that they have permission from users to perform personal surveillance.
The problem is that most of the people do not understand how the tracking is conducted. The tech firms have not helped in teaching the consumers about this either.
Here’s What Works. And What Doesn’t.
A user can understand the terms of the policy by going through the big legal documents. However, most of the information is unreadable for nearly everyone except for lawyers who have helped develop them.
On the other hand, mobile brands allow their users to control data collection in some situations. For instance, both Apple and Google mobile OS’s allow users to switch their GPS tracking off. This step should ideally stop most applications from gathering the user’s location information. However, it does not happen like this always. Most of the app developers also persuade users to refrain from turning off their location service.
Besides, just deleting the contact and name information from the location data does not work. The user’s home address and the places visited can still be accessed from location history. This is enough to give hints about the user’s identity, medical condition as well as personal information.
So why are people still not opting out of such data collection tactics adopted by most tech firms? Well, the apps and websites make it tough and almost impossible for people to say a ‘no’ to such surveillance. Besides, people generally don’t change the default location services which are set by the tech firms. They are also unlikely to do so owing to the inconvenience attached to altering the location service on Android and iOS systems nowadays.
How to avoid such situations?
Well, many data privacy researchers know how much people dislike such practices. If free services come with aggressive surveillance, many people would prefer rather payable ones or look for companies which have stronger personal data collection policies.
However, until the US adopts a law which needs tech firms to seek user consent for personal data collection, people can use the below-mentioned suggestions:
You should start understanding how you can switch off the location service in Android or iPhone smartphones.
Make sure to switch the service on only if you use an application which requires the location service to run, like the maps.
You can try and avoid using applications like Facebook Mobile which tries to dig deep in your device to access your details. Rather, you can use an internet browser in private modes such as Chrome or Firefox.