By: Sophia P. Nasher
Many of us can’t fathom a day to day routine without our mobile devices. We shop and pay our bills, we listen to music, we text and we tweet. While having a smartphone comes with many perks, what many of us are not aware of is that this convenience comes at a cost. According to a New YorkTimes article, due to the expansion of GPS technology, over the past couple of years millions of cellphones have been under surveillance. Undoubtedly, whilethe safety and security of U.S. citizens are of utmost importance, it seems to be that our privacy is being intruded upon without our consent. Most agencies do not ask for search warrants before requesting the location of a person via cellphone. In addition to agencies watching your every move, corporations have tactics in place in order to getyour information through the apps you download. They take information such as what you buy, who you talk to, and how you get to work through apps and, in return, offer products and services you are more inclined to buy. I was a bit alarmed when I logged onto my Facebook application and saw an advertisement for cupcakes, when prior to logging in I texted my friend that I had a craving for cupcakes! Sheer coincidence? I do not think so. The bottom line is, convenience comes at a cost, but it doesn’t have to. Inorder to protect ourselves, suggestions are listed below. As Americans we value the personal freedom bestowed upon us, and when that very freedom is under threat, we have to take action and let our voices be heard, (probably through an alternative medium other than your smartphone):
- If you are not completely reliant on your smartphone, buy a prepaid phone and dispose of it, that way your name is not tracked back to your phone.
- Turn your cell phone off when you are not using it. It isn’t necessary to keep your cellphone on during every waking hour of the day. That way there is a lesser likelihood of your every move being followed.
- Be extra cautious when deciding which apps to download, be especially cognizant when you are downloading apps that require mapping your location. A better alternative for smartphone GPSis to use free mapping devices online, one popular one being Mapquest.
- This article hints that framing matters a lot as it changes the way we think about things. For example, instead of calling our smart phones “cellphones,” we need to refer tothem as “trackers.”
- Create and join advocacy groups that will hold corporations and agencies accountable. Agencies must seek search warrants before putting surveillance on our phones, and corporations have no business snooping around. It is unacceptable and unnecessaryfor corporations to trample on our privacy. Accountability is key here, and it is time to hold some folks accountable.
How can you, as an American consumer, protect yourself from being tracked? Should there be legislation or protocols in place to limit agencies and corporations from invading our privacy?