Location, Location, Location!
At Merek Security Solutions we posture our ability to serve our clients with extreme professionalism, and even though the majority of our client-base resides with the Federal government space, we also take pride in our ability to reach locally within the broad spectrum of our local community businesses and organizations. It is within this particular spectrum that we’ve learned time and time again that garners the most support within the economic growth of the local community, but also in how this demographic strengthens the socioeconomic gap often enforced by those who have compared against those who have not.
So, when the idea of location services came up during one of Merek’s most recent business mix events, we found ourselves in a much deeper intellectual water than we intended. Considering the fact that to date mega tech companies such as Facebook, Google, and Apple to name a few are amassing mountains of users’ location data, and in many cases without the full awareness of the users. This is not new of course, particularly when the app market has literally forced users to chose between the convenience factor of an impressive app over the security (or lack thereof) of that said app relative to privacy and data protection. In fact, many apps wouldn’t work at all without location services turned on.
A recent Fast Company article revealed that, “Even the most absent-minded smartphone user is probably aware that apps keep tabs on where they go. Many apps wouldn’t work without location data. But few realize just how often that location tracking is happening—even when it’s not necessary, even when their apps aren’t being used, and, increasingly, even when a user isn’t even carrying their phone.” In other words, the ability for these companies to track your location is far beyond the scope of improving user experience, but rather about better understanding who you are and what kind of advertising to show you. So, if your social media lifestyle is always touting fitness and healthy food choices, but your locations services real your twice or three times a week at Mickey D’s, then perhaps you’ll receive more ads relative to discounts on chicken nuggets vice a gym membership. Then there’s the discussion of third-party apps, geolocation, and other aspects of your phone using cell towers to triangulate your location. So, what is the answer you ask? Well, we’re still working on this very important research. In the meantime, be diligent in knowing how many apps share your personal information, and be cognizant in the fact that just because an app says it isn’t recording our location doesn’t always mean that it isn’t. And even when we can trust that an app is only tracking us while we’re using it, that shouldn’t quell our privacy concerns: If we are often using that app, then we are often revealing a lot about where we are, and to an increasing extent, who we are.
CEO, Merek Security Solutions