How Much Information Is Your Smartphone Sharing?

There has been a lot of discussion recently of privacy-focused smartphones that offers encryption for all your calls and texts. Until these devices become commonplace, if they do, how much information are you currently showing off to the world? Your phone holds your life… from your contacts, to your emails & pictures, to places you’ve been, and so much more. It’s really scary to think of how much information can be collected and stored about you and kept for a long time.

We’ll start with the very basics. This day and age many of you are using Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You take picture with your phone and post them online. You also take video capturing the moments wherever you are. More than likely you are home, or near home when you take these shots, right? So how much information are you sharing with the world that you had no idea?

Facebook Messenger Location Services

Recently I was talking to a new friend on Facebook Messenger in which I had never met before. Unbeknownst to her, she had her location settings on and displaying where she was. I could simply click to see her location to pinpoint exactly… and I do mean exactly… where she was. I could literally pick which corner of the house she was in. At first I thought how funny it would be to just play a joke and ask her where she lived and then explain how I live nearby, then give her a street name and act like I was a neighbor. Instead I just was like “FYI… your location setting is on”. Now if your entire Facebook friend list is comprised of close friends and family that you would like for them to know where you are anytime you’re chatting away… then yeah, leave that on. Otherwise I suggest turning it off. Facebook collects this data and uses it as a filter in their Facebook Ads settings where advertisers can select to target you while you’re away from home, on vacation, or just returning from vacation.

Action Step: Go to Facebook settings and turn off Messenger Location Services. Alternatively, you may disable this per message in the messenger box.

Twitter Tweets Location

This one is pretty obvious that you can share your location. Turning it off is pretty plain and simple, as you just click the location icon  when you’re about to post to turn it off. The website demonstrates this through their efforts in raising awareness about over-sharing online.

Instagram Photo Map

instagram photo map

There was a recent news segment on Instagram I think that talked about geotagged photos. We’ll get into that in a second. Ok, so Instagram has the same sort of thing going on with putting on a map where you took the photo (and maybe just where you uploaded it). If your phone is geotagging photos then one could simply find you on instagram and see where you live. Many of you openly display your username to strangers on apps like Tinder and other public sites. This allows anyone to simply click on your image to bring up Google Maps and show where it was taken… most likely your house. Now they know where you live. Using Google street view they can now even take a peek around neighborhood.

Action Step: Don’t geo-tag photos and remove any that you have from your map… unless of course you want them there.

Geo-Tagged Photos

This is where a lot of information can be getting out whenever you post a photo, email a photo, or text a photo to someone. I’m not saying you have to turn off location settings on your photos. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to group pictures by location. Sometimes you may just want to remember where you were when the picture was taken. However, when you post the image somewhere in it’s raw form… all the metadata about the picture will also be available. Here’s a picture I took today with the details next to it. This is just some of the information that is being attached to each photo. You could pop in those coordinates into Google Maps and it would bring up the location. If it weren’t for the spoon in the picture, I would have you do it and guess where I went.



The privacy and security of apps always leaves me a little skeptical. Especially when it lists everything it has access to… text, sd card, emails, accounts, camera, etc. Now I know what apps are supposed to have access to, just like what computer software is supposed to have access to. Yet, somehow… these barriers are crossed from time to time where access to sensitive information is attainable. To understand how much of a privacy concern you should have, one must understand an app is just that… an app. It’s software written in a way to show you what it wants you to see while performing any action it can get access to. Technically, and not to bring upon fear, an app could access your camera at any moment and broadcast what it sees. It could access all your images and upload them to a remote location. If an app can do this for altruistic purposes, it has the capacity to do it for other purposes too or if imposed on by the Government.

I think the issue of privacy is becoming more prevalent today because of the lack of it. There are many conversations I have with people about what information they share or that is available online that they find haunting. With a minimal amount of information, and I do mean minimal… one could find out more information about someone than most of their close friends and family are aware of.

On a bigger scale… there is quite a large collection of data that is being collected about you, your life, who you interact with, all your credit card transactions tied in with your shopping patterns, where you frequent, and much much more. Most of the time this data is put together to create information to better market you products and services, but not all the time.

A few good related reads…


These Smartphones Starting off 2011 will be Game Changers

These Smartphones Starting off 2011 will be Game Changers

It was less than a year ago when I finally made the switch from a simple featured phone to a smartphone (HTC Droid Eris then quickly to the Motorola Droid X). The trend of smartphone users is increasing exponientially and shows now signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Which these new powerful devices added to the market of smartphones there is no wonder about why everyone wants to get their hands on one. I just don’t know which one to choose. The iPhone will have some fierce competition this year with these featured packed phones. I’ve seen the small 3m™ shoot ‘n share camcorder & projector that has it’s own projector built into it to instantly share videos that were just recorded. I wouldn’t be surprised is this feature makes its way in one of the devices later on in the year.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc

This smartphone has way too many features to list… seriously.  To name a few…

  • Slim, lightweight and strong, with perfect ergonomics
  • Extra wide 4.2” multi-touch Reality Display with Mobile BRAVIA® Engine to ensure ultimate multimedia and viewing experiences
  • Sony Exmor R™ for mobile: for best-in-class low-light photography and video capture
  • 8.1 megapixel camera and HD video recording capability
  • Android Market™ – thousands of applications to keep you entertained
  • Sony Ericsson Xperia™ arc will be available globally in selected markets, including Japan, from Q1 in the colours Midnight Blue and Misty Silver.

Motorola’s Atrix

Motorola ATRIX 4G

“Motorola ATRIX 4G: The World’s Most Powerful Smartphone and the Future of Mobile Computing”

Motorola’s ATRIX 4G launches a new era of mobile computing. A phone that acts like a computer, the Motorola ATRIX 4G delivers both the power and performance of mobile computing, all while fitting comfortably in your pocket. With the new webtop application, a web based desktop, Motorola ATRIX 4G can morph personalities when it is connected to different accessories. Connect Motorola ATRIX to an HDMI compatible monitor, HD TV or Motorola’s Laptop Dock or HD Docks accessories, and with the webtop application, you now have the freedom to surf the web with a full Mozilla Firefox® browser and to access all of your files, emails, photos and movies on a larger screen in the office, on the road or at home.

HTC Desire HD

HTC Desire HD 4.3 inch Android Phone

Considering replacing your iPhone 3GS? This phone looks like it will be one of the most media friendly devices out there! HTC Desire HD is bringing a 4.3-inch touch screen packed in aluminum body and features a 1GHz 8255 Snapdragon processor, 8MP camera with dual-LED flash and 720p video recording, HSPA+ data with 802.11n WiFi also on board. HTC doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere anytime soon and will continue to be a very strong player in the smartphone market.

Engadget’s Review on HTC Desire HD

The explosive growth of users that have smartphones will effect a lot of markets. Internet marketers have to be aware of new ways which to engage these users who aren’t using their computers as often as they once did. We are already strategically planning new marketing efforts to reach these users who may be searching for products or services while in line and the grocery store. This is just the beginning!