Your favorite gadget is tracking your every move. Smartphones can log your daily routine right down to the exact location and the time you were there. As the I-Team discovered it's almost impossible to turn it all off.
All those apps on your phone that make things so convenient are also virtual spies, and most of us are giving them permission to track our every move.
Matthew Wood always has his smartphone with him, but he's not happy about everything it can do. "I don't like the fact that my phone can constantly track me," he told us. Even if he's just at the park with his daughter.
Smartphones are constantly leaking data through WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS. Wood feels it's an invasion of privacy, "but I also understand that I have to agree to that to use all the functions," he pointed out.
And almost every app you download to your phone asks to use your current location. It's convenience versus privacy. Retailers view location tracking as a way to offer a better shopping experience, developing apps that push coupons to your phone as soon as you walk in the door.
Local privacy expert, Kevin Bong with the Brookfield-based Sikich told us, "the apps are free, but free doesn't really mean free." That's because it's all tied into marketing information used by retailers or sold to a third party. Some companies track phones inside stores to get a feel for customer's shopping habits. Many times the retailer takes it one step further. "By getting people to add the app they're going from that anonymous to that 'I know who you are and
He suggests looking at the privacy setting on every app you use. Does it need location information to work? If not, turn it off. And Bong warns, anyone can write an app, "it's just a check box to add all this tracking information. It's really important to trust who you're getting the app from."
Wood is already following that advice. He's picky about his apps. "If it's something I don't trust as much or not as name brand or a large corporation, I try to stay away from it." He's doing what he can to keep his daily routine, private.
While you can't completely be off the grid if you use a smartphone saying "no" to location tracking and turning off your WiFi and Bluetooth help. There's also a hidden feature in your phone most people don't know about called "frequent locations." It tracks time, dates and how long you stay somewhere. All that data makes it easy to figure out where you live and work.
HOW TO TURN OF 'FREQUENT LOCATIONS':
1. Click "Settings"
2. Go to "Privacy"
3. Select "Location Services"
4. Scroll down to "System Services"
5. Choose "Frequent Locations" to see the logged record of where you've been -- de-select this to turn the feature off
1. Open the App Drawer and go to Settings.
2. Scroll down and tap Location.
3. Scroll down and tap Google Location Settings.
4. Tap Location Reporting and Location History, and switch the slider to off for each one.
5. To delete your phone's location cache, tap "Delete Location History" at the bottom of the screen under Location History.
6. Repeat this process for each Google Account you have on your Android device.