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How mobile phones turned into a privacy war ground – and how to protect yourself.

Data collection has seen a significant shift with the introduction of mobile devices. Contrary to traditional ad tech, primarily focused upon what we were looking for in ad tech,” Albert Fox Cahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, told that companies now can focus more on where they are.

Many ad-tech companies and data brokers operate in a highly unregulated and opaque environment, despite not having federal privacy laws. As a result, it is almost impossible for users and phone owners to see the data used and where it is going. It also means no industry standards make it difficult to know what is possible on any device.

What happens to your data, and who can view it?

You won’t find any information about data collection or details of the data being sent. However, transmitted data can be used to create a profile of you which advertisers can then target ads with. This encryption is very limited and end-to-end encryption means you can have the keys to transform your data into something usable, even if it is stored on company servers. The company hosting the data can access any activity, even though it is encrypted on its servers.

Permissions provided a brief history of privacy in mobile apps.

 In 2007, the original Apple iPhone was introduced. It was the first smartphone that allowed an app to access nearly all data on your phone without you being notified. With the introduction of permission prompts, this changed. Due to privacy violations and alerts by researchers, phone owners became more concerned about permissions.

Some tips to improve your mobile privacy
It is impossible to prevent data sharing and tracking. Even failing attempts can make internet browsing on your phone difficult. It’s a good idea to know where your data could end up. You can do a few things to reduce data collection and preserve the main benefits of the technology.

Turn off personalized ad tracking from your phone

Both iOS devices and Android users have the option to opt-out of personalized ads. This makes it harder to track your device ID for apps and brokers who purchase data from developers.

Take a look at the apps that you have downloaded
Consider whether you need the app or not.  It is better to use a browser if the app only gives you access to a subscription service.

Attention to Permissions
Note which permissions an app requires when installing it. Anything that appears strange, like an app that asks for your location but does not have GPS capabilities, should be denied. If you find yourself in need of these permissions, you can always disable them later.

Delete apps you don’t use
Nearly everyone has downloaded one app and forgotten about it. Please delete the app or Phone owners can block certain red flags like video or microphone access, control what apps may access, and disable system features such as Bluetooth connectivity per app.


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