Staying private on a phone

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This sure isn’t easy, beside making sure that not every application snarfs your GPS what can you do. Well quite a bit actually, here are some recommendations:

  1. Be careful about the permissions and what applications you load. Lots of application will ask, “can I use your GPS even when I’m not running.” This is useful for notification applications like say Alaska Airlines that will throw up a boarding pass, but remember, it means you have given them permission to snarf your location for all time and they can sell that data. Same with Google for that matter or Facebook, it does seem like you can see my location when I run your application is way more reasonable.
  2. Get a Safari ad blocker. These are third parties and they do charge, but I use 1Blocker and it stops the most common web thingies that are tracking you.
  3. NordVPN. This is a $60 a year application that hides your location. It doesn’t work always and it can be annoying, but it does give you some anonymity. Be aware that some applications like Amazon or Bank of America will refuse to run through a VPN. They are worried about Russian hackers stealing your data, so that’s sensible. But if you are in a Starbucks, then you can’t really know if “Google Starbucks” isn’t just something that the laptop next to you is advertising.
  4. Https everywhere. This is a browser tool that will always try to get you to use https which is secure. Try to use it on your laptop. On your phone, just make sure that you type in https everywhere and you see that little lock icon.
  5. Disconnect Privacy Pro. This is the latest discovery. All those IOS applications that you download are also emitting data like crazy. With iOS you can actually run multiple VPNs, so you can run this to block all those horrible ad monitoring libraries people stuff into applications. I ran this for two days and had 1,000 blocks requests to send data out of applications to who knows where. If you run this with NordVPN, you are going to be less likely I to have a huge footprint.
  6. Turn off tracking in Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, etc. They have made it nearly impossible to figure out their pages and pages of settings, but in general, I turn as much as I can off particularly ad personalization and location tracking

Now of course, there is nothing 100% about any of this, it’s a cat and mouse game, so just do a little more and it helps a little.

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