Do you use Apples sharing app “Find My” to locate your friends? Is your fear of missing out so great that you are tracking where your friends are just to make sure you are not being left out? If so, you are not alone. Find My app may have originally been designed to find lost computers or dogs, but it is now frequently used to keep tabs on friends and family.
Location sharing apps are proliferating. They have become staples in friend groups and are used as a measure of status in the group. Knowing where your friends are and with whom comes with all sorts of issues- from breach of privacy to skipping conversations, because you already know where they were and with whom. Why do people enable location sharing? It can be ostensibly for safety- if parents know where their kids are, the belief is that they will act and be safer. But why do your friend groups need to know? There does not seem to be a whole lot of benefit knowing that your friend is at the dog park right now- how is the information beneficial? especially when you consider the possible negative impacts. What if your friend was at a planned parenthood clinic or a psychiatrist office ? What if she wanted to keep this private, so turned off her location tracker-how does that make you feel? Has your anxiety just escalated because you do not know where they are? It seems much simpler to text your friend and say where are you, want to meet for coffee? then to serendipitously tract her and show up at the dog park. There does not seem to be a convincing reason to have this tracking device on 24/7. Yes, perhaps if you are driving across the province or going out on a blind date, but being continuously monitored, even if it is by your friends, can have negative impacts.
Consider that according to the New York Times (2018) at least 75 companies receive anonymous, precise location data from apps whose users enable location services . Several of those businesses claim to track up to 200 million mobile devices in the United States (N.Y.T.,2018). These businesses tract your daily movements. It is very easy to find out who you are, and know your schedule. They can tract your location within a few yards and are updating your location, sometime up to 14,000 x per day. They then sell you information to marketers, looking to sell you something based on the data accumulated from your activities. And this is a hot market. In 2019, sales of location-targeted advertising reached an estimated $21 billion. Best case scenario, these companies are just going to try and sell you something, but what if the data gets hacked? What is your privacy worth to you? What is your child’s privacy worth? Perhaps it is time to turn off those tracking devices and trust your friends and family. And if not, there are air-pods now that you can discretely hide in your friend’s knapsack.
What do you think? Have you been part of a friend group sharing location data? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
Facebook: #respectmyprivacy. Do you know who’s tracking you? Read about it: https://tinyurl.com/3u68ty3j
Instagram: Are you being tracked? Read more at : https://tinyurl.com/3u68ty3j #respectmyprivacy, #nomoretrackers